Mistress

II: The Chronovisor

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England's paradoxically named Mistress is quite the bundle of contradictions. Not only is its particularly hateful brand of metal-core completely at odds with its given name, but its raw brutality hardly befits an album -- 2003's Mistress II: The Chronovisor -- that is named after a time-machine rumored to have been invented by a Benedictine monk/physicist called Father Ernetti. This legendary invention supposedly lies hidden in the Vatican vaults and is, of course, wrapped in controversy and doubt; but, luckily, listeners won't have to rely on half-truths or conspiracy theories to sample Mistress' own, dark creations. Fueled by bruising aural aggression, occasional blast-beats and blunt misanthropic intentions, the album invites comparisons to earlier works by the likes of Discharge, Disfear (check out "Psychic One Inch Punch" and "Piss for Blood, Shit for Brains"), and, at times, even grindcore godfathers Napalm Death ("Wanker Colony"). But there's also a decidedly modern undercurrent at hand on slower, groovier songs such as "Hell Is other People," "Hit Bottom," and the hypnotic, extended grind "38." Quoting from recent developments in death metal and hardcore, these bear more than a passing resemblance to post-doom, post-hardcore superstars in the making like Mastodon and Isis -- minus these acts' virtuoso performances, mind you. Most important of all, however, Chronovisor is an album that unexpectedly grows from average to "wow!" in astonishing fashion, making a few extra listens well worth the listener's time.

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