One thing that contemporary Rock never shed from its predecessors was overt-cheesiness. So a Hard Rock / Heavy Metal retro act coming out of Olympia, Washington in 2008? An element of cheesiness is a certainty.
Released on Relapse Records in 2015, To Your Death immediately embraces such cheese on opening track Neon, containing lyrical moments like “can’t escape the knife of the neon lights burnin’ out the stars” and “…just a teenage dream lookin’ for a scene and falling apart.” But the vocals wail, the solos shred, and the rhythm section chugs along as Christian Mistress carve their groove.
The album opens up new territory, daring to break away from its retro reservations. Songs like Eclipse and Open Road are absolute standout tracks. Hefty and vivid songs with which Christian Mistress provides vigorous performances. As praised elsewhere, vocalist Christine Davis is excellent, and delivers a powerful and dynamic performance.
With exception to a slight gothic element on Lone Wild, To Your Death is a Hard Rock / Heavy Metal album and the guitars want you to know it. Little flairs and outbursts decorate otherwise rhythmic-centric sections, where the instrumental track titled ‘III’ displays a profane excess of guitar overdubbing- no one guitar standing out or particularly saying anything. There is nothing left to be implied, and certainly no room for it.
To Your Death understates Christian Mistress’s rhythm section. If you’ve spent any time drumming or playing bass than you can can tell Reuben Storey (drums) and Jonny Wulf (bass) have a wealth of talent that isn’t even close to being explored.
Ultimately, To Your Death is a fun and debaucherous Rock record otherwise held back by an imbalance of its rhythmic core and melodic ornamentation. To Your Death …by a million guitar licks.
For fans of: Heart, Queens of The Stone Age, Acid King
Like Christian Mistress? Give these a listen: Bundle of Hiss, Raging Slab, Lions