The Pacific Northwest has long been fertile ground for great heavy music. But recent years have been unusually fruitful, giving rise to the likes of Wolves in the Throne Room, Agalloch and the Olympia band Christian Mistress, which brings an especially dark angle to the sounds of '80s British heavy metal.
Christian Mistress seems to have studied every strategy Iron Maiden and Judas Priest ever employed, and its recent second album, Possession, is the resulting playbook. "Haunted Hunted" sports riffs that feel patient and reserved by modern standards, but they rock nevertheless. The track ultimately blossoms into harmonized guitar leads, with a few tempo changes and a dark instrumental interlude.
Christian Mistress sports an appreciation for the occult in its imagery and lyrics, too, but Christine Davis' smoky, street-level vocals set the band apart from likeminded peers. Her voice turns the crucifix-, pentagram- and spell-laden stories on Possession intro grim realities.