"To Your Death"

By Colonel Angus

There is a growing number of new(er) bands that are flying the flag of the NWOBHM.  This is definitely a trend that I myself love.  Having grown up during the initial “new wave”, the sound only brings back fond memories of blasting music that had fast riffs, great hooks, and cool lyrics.  Christian Mistress is new to me but they hail from the Pacific Northwest and have been around for a little more than a half decade.  Their newest release on Relapse Records is an 8 song album that really hits the spot.  Now mind you, nothing here is new or earth shattering but what you do get is a disk of great catchy tunes that will have you humming the tracks for days.  Just take a listen to tracks like “Neon”, “No Place”, and “Open Road” to sample those catchy riffs and melodic vocals.  Even though there are only 8 tracks, there is variety on To Your Death.  “Ultimate Freedom” has a cool bluesy feel at the beginning but builds into a cool rocker while “Lone Wild” has a moody heavy riff that gives the album some atmosphere.  The disk ends on a nice instrumental call “III”.  One of the other trends that I see happening now is that some bands are not releasing 15 songs albums that span 70 minutes.  “To Your Death is a shorter record but that is part of its charm.  There are no “filler” tunes to skip so you listen to whole thing and it is short enough that you spin it multiple times in a row.

Christian Mistress is a 5 piece with Jonny Wulf on bass and Reuben Story on drums.  These two create a solid foundation for the others to build upon.  Christine Davis has a cool voice that is hard to describe.  She possesses a nice range but there is a bit of raspy-ness to it.  I like the fact that she doesn’t sound anything like the current crop of female vocalist out there.  Many of them sound very operatic but Davis is definitely in the rocker column.  Oscar Sparbel and Tim Diedrich provide the guitars and they are quite the duo.  There is a Thin Lizzy meets Iron Maiden guitar sound throughout and while the riffs are catchy, the solos are even better.  You know a good guitar solo is good when you can hum it and this record is full of them.
Many of you who have read my reviews before know that I have a soft spot for bands like Christian Mistress – straight ahead metal in the NWOBHM vein.  My recommendation is go out and get “To Your Death” but don’t expect to be blown away with new sounds that you have never heard before.  Purchase this disk with the intention of hearing a good ol’ metal played by a more than competent band.  Based on “To Your Death”, I will be on the lookout for concert dates.