Saturday, August 28, 2010

Christian Mistress
Agony & Opium
20 Buck Spin

Deep in the heart of indie rock Mecca Olympia, Washington, lurks, oddly enough, a heavy metal band. Like most street metal outfits, Christian Mistress takes its inspiration from the rough, dirty side of Judas Priest, all hardcharging rhythms, minor-key anthems and dueling guitar solos. Frontchick Christine Davis’ gritty howl – she’s almost a dead ringer for Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano – can sound strident, as if she never smiles when there’s serious rocking to be done. She arguably works at odds with the big, dumb fun proffered by the band, but, then again, she’s probably appropriate for a line like Have I seen the catalyst/The rising corpse of tragic love (Home in the Sun). Still, Black Vigil and Riding On the Edges kick up the proper amount of dust behind the blazing Harley, and the just-set-up-and-go! production keeps even the gothic thrash of Omega Stone grounded in the dirt (road). Agony & Opium likely won’t go down in history as the flashpoint of a new Pacific Northwest metal movement, but it’s a promising start.

- Michael Toland

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