Christian Mistress – Agony & Opium
20 Buck Spin, 2010
Hailing from Olympia, Washington, Christian Mistress is a new band out to make their mark with a debut album that evokes the spirit and sound of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). Agony & Opium also reminds me at times of Ample Destruction-era Jag Panzer. Much is being made of the album’s defiantly low-tech sound, but don’t mistake that for a poor-sounding record. Rather, Christian Mistress has successfully captured a raw, energetic sound that fits the music. With six songs that clock in around 28 minutes, this is the type of short album that I wish more bands would make. Fans of Thin Lizzy and obscure NWOBHM bands will definitely lust after Christian Mistress. “Black Vigil”, with its NWOBHM-type boogie, and “Desert Rose”, which features thumping rhythm and plenty of lead guitar leads, are my personal favorites. Opening track “Riding On The Edges” sets the tone for the album with its fast beat and catchy guitar line. Twin guitar leads and solos are prominent throughout, especially on “Home In The Sun” and “Omega Stone”, a somber song that builds into a massive guitar solo that brings fire to the remainder of the track with a fast riff. “Poison Path” is the weakest track here, but it’s not a bad song, either. The haunting vocals of Christine Davis really set Christian Mistress apart, and the echo on her tracks lends a unique air to Agony & Opium. It took me a few listens to fully appreciate what Christian Mistress is trying to achieve on the album, but now that it has sunk in I like Agony & Opium much more that I initially did. If you appreciate the sound of late 70’s/early 80’s British metal, Agony & Opium should be considered mandatory listening.
Christian Mistress performs Saturday, October 2 as direct support to Thrones with Seawhores at the Turf Club in St. Paul.