Mistress

Mistress

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Taking into account the musical and lyrical refinement that would characterize their still quite vicious but intellectually esoteric sophomore album, The Chronovisor, the self-titled debut from Birmingham's Mistress seemed a comparatively brute, unwaveringly rough-hewn exercise in inaccessible sonic warfare. And yet, its intentionally unpalatable creations already contained barely disguised clues of the band's altogether more complex intentions, and thereby far exceeded most rote sludgecore albums by a country mile. Of course the term "sludgecore" itself is only one of many that could be assigned to Mistress' always oppressive but varied style -- a style that owes as much to British grindcore heavyweights Napalm Death (see the excoriating outbursts "God of Rock" and "DVDA") and hardcore heavies Discharge ("Stunt Cock") as it does to feedback-loving Americans Cavity (observe the tortured gasps of "Goatboy" and "5th in Line"). And while some malformed tracks (the unremarkable "Bludgeon" and the doomy "Necronaut," for instance) waffle on a bit long, Mistress achieve another set of high-water marks with "Rebecca"'s almost Entombed-like "rott & roll" and epic 12-minute closer "Lord Worm," which sees them flirting with ambient mood metal evocative of Neurosis and Isis. In the end, although easy to overlook because the band's weapons were almost exclusively set to stun mode, this promising debut sowed the seeds to Mistress' quick ascension in years to come.