Agony & Opium
20 Buck Spin
Olympia Washington's old school sounding metal machine, Christian Mistress exploded like a bomb in my stereo. Christine's dry and husky/raspy vocals have a Joplin feel in their power and freedom. Riding on the Edges gets proceedings underway with an infectious main riff that is gripping both in its energy and immediacy. The track drops into a Deep Purple groove at the 1:56 minute mark before jumping into some twin guitar melodic leads. Desert Rose starts with a pulsing bass guitar and smoky vocals. The chorus though is where the true magic comes alive, a sense of regret cuts through Christine's voice. Some serious rock leads scald your ears at various periods within the track. The tempo quickens for Home In The Sun and the song has a driving undulation to its flow as melodies fall out of the guitars like rain from a stormy sky. Black Vigil opens with some Judas Priest inspired riffing and the whole song is a muscle-car scorching up the highway. Tearful clean guitars and sorrow-tinged vocals open the album's final track, Omega Stone. The tempo and strength of the song swell as the guitars let fall some shredding riffs and Christine's vocals crest above them. Our ears are seared with a fiery solo as the song comes to its abrupt conclusion. Agony & Opium is a captivating album that speaks of an old gypsy soul dancing behind a veil of late 70s rock and early 80s metal. Kind of like a less strict version of The Devil's Blood. Christian Mistress' 6 song debut album is one of the year's highlights for me.