Christian Mistress is another band that I wasn’t very familiar with before actually receiving the album (just like Terror from last week). This album came in a 5-LP grab bag from Relapse Records that I ordered hoping to get lucky with. Well, I got what I wished for with this album.
Christian Mistress is a kind of old-school heavy metal band with a female singer. Full disclosure: I HATE female singers in bands most of the time. I just can’t get into it. I’m not knocking them and I think they have every right to be in the genre, I just don’t dig it. There are exceptions though, and this is one of them.
I had heard of this band from magazines and online sources but since I wasn’t already a fan I never really gave it any thought. Hell, I had probably seen this album advertised on Relapse’s website loads of times and thought, “That’s a cool album cover. I wonder if I’d like it.” but I never did anything about it. Shame on me. Cool tunes abound with this album. Also, it’s on silver vinyl as a part of Relapse’s 25th Anniversary!
To Your Death is an explosive riff machine. Real good tunes here. It has a bit of a raw sound (think Judas Priest late-70’s material) but it’s real clean and palatable. It rides the line between sounding like a demo from a modern band and a super-produced album from the 70’s. Totally cool stuff.
Now, onto some of the cool design points with this release.
The jacket comes in a really nice matte-finish cardstock. I very much dig it in this application. It helps the idea that this is throwback band from when vinyl ruled the day and the “Pantera-sound” hasn’t taken over every metal band’s audible output. The softer paper also helps with the totally bitchin’ debossed lettering that appears on the front/back. Gold foil-stamping was used for the band name and title. When I first opened the package I was immediately drawn to this album because of the matte-paper and gold stamping.
The illustration on the front is really cool as well. I have never been shy about loving certain varieties of illustration and this is one of those. Super detailed and it has the feeling of an old etching. My favorite. I can get lost in this shit for hours.
The back of the jacket is super simplistic. A nice drawing that feels like a companion to the front graphics encompasses the song titles. More debossed lettering appears and it’s just fantastic looking. Nice, big song names full of gold.
The insert that comes with the record is pretty neat as well. It takes a different turn as it is a whole LOT of black all of a sudden. I took the shrink-wrap off of the record and slid out the album and insert and was taken aback for a second.
At first glance it would appear like this insert doesn’t “fit in” with the rest of the artwork but then you start to really check it out and it fits in just fine. It has this cool little hand-drawn border around the whole thing, with another thicker border inside that. This plays off that illustrative theme from the front and back. The picture and accompanying text have that same old-school feel to them. A black and white photo that’s not really technically “great” but that’s ok because they are just 5 people who make kickass tunes for the fun of it. Some writing underneath the photo is either hand-written or in a very convincing typeface. I like to believe it’s actually written out.
The other side of the insert does take a bit of a different turn but it still has that illustrative/hand-written feel. The words create a really cool pattern on the jet-black page. Very nice effect here.
The vinyl itself is pretty cool. It’s nothing mind-blowing or anything like that but it is a special pressing and it looks good. A fairly-typical silver vinyl pressing. I’m not sure if it was accidental or not but it worked out perfectly with the labels on the record. Very cool.
The album is definitely cool if you are a fan of old-school heavy metal. You like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and other New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands? Then you’ll like this. Get on it. Buy it, crank it, and headbang the night away.