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I first heard Mistress in 2005, after seeing them support the Red Chord (of which I was dragged along to, not being a huge fan myself). However, it turned out to be one of the better gigs I have been to, purely for my discovering Mistress!! I remember loving their "We don't give a fuck" attitude - especially Drunk's face all the way through (hilarious grimacing). So I got home, and immediately checked out the band's sites.
"In Disgust We Trust" is the first Mistress album I purchased, and it is such a CD! The riffs are incredibly dirty; it is like listening to grindcore in a sewer, (coincidently one full to the brim with disgusting sludge). The first three tracks are relentless, showcasing mostly Migg's powerful drumming and Dave Cunt's IMMENSE shouting vocals. The lyrics are pretty average, but it is all about the sheer spite with which Dave pull's them off! Just listen to "Fucking Fuck" to witness this aggression! The guitar is pretty good, though no better than their previous effort (II - The Chronovisor) which is also highly recommended.
The next track, "Static" starts off with a sludged up riff, and moves on to be one of the slower tracks (so far) until, that is, it reaches the chorus. Upbeat, melodic guitar and clean vocals show the diversity that the band possesses - also witnessed in one of the best tracks of the album, "Whiskey Tastes Better", which features King Diamond-esque wails, and a sludge 'n' roll rhythm to die for! I repeat, Dave really is all over this CD - his sheer versatility is amazing (see also his vocals - the best Black Metal vocals ever - in Anaal Nathrakh's work, it is absolutely mental). He is surely one of extreme metal's best vocalists by quite a distance, accompanied by Akercocke's Jason Mendonca and Devin Townsend in my opinion.
Another apparent influence of Mistress is their beloved booze - songs with titles such as "Alcohole" (which feature ripping guitar solos not often heard from the band) and "Whiskey Taste Better" have alcohol fuelled lyrics, laced with the band's sick sense of humour. The +9 minute instrumental sludgefest that is "Shovel" is an epic track to scare the shit out of a stoned individual, or start up a fight between a few drunks, and for this reason, I love it!! Its abrupt ending leaves you thinking "Where is the rest of the track?! Perhaps if I go back and listen to the whole CD again I will hear it..." and for this reason it is one of my most played albums.
Definitely one to release any anger you may have, or just put on when you want to thoroughly piss someone off! Highly recommended, as is the preceding album.
In many instances, a genre can be about a vibe as much as a sound. On “In Disgust We Trust”, Mistress carries on the same feelings that originally surfaced on Napalm Death records that were produced during the middle of that band’s tenure for the Earache label, this is due in large part to the types of vocal phrasing used over chugging rhythms.
“Happily Ever Disaster” certainly grinds along admirably, with 1-2-3-4 counts leading into blasts and 180 BPM 4/4 snare/ kick drum patterns. The title track chugs along like a freight train, appearing to move more slowly than it actually is, simply because of its enormous size.
Being from Birmingham, these five grind pigs certainly have some rather large shoes to fill, in consideration of that city’s massive contributions to the metal world. Mistress do a competent job of fulfilling the role. “Static” possesses a sinister sounding riff that would make Pungent Stench proud and although the vocals here are not quite as OTT as you would find on a traditional grind album, with the inclusion of semi-melodic vocals during the song’s chorus, a wizened analysis would conclude that Mistress are pushing the boundaries of the genre of grind as opposed to reaching toward it.
At other times, the group sticks directly to the game plan, as they do on the thumping “Alcohole”, which slams along with reckless abandon. Fans of Extreme Noise Terror and the God-like Napalm will certainly find this record to be along the lines of their musical tastes, while those that have been force fed metalcore for the past ten years might take this as a good starting point for expanding their musical understanding.
I will be completely honest. Had I not known that I was listening to Mistress during the duration of this album’s first track, ‘In Disgust We Trust’, I would not have enjoyed it all that much. My first impression was of a sloppy, bravado-driven soundtrack to a shirtless tough-guy’s moshpit wet dream. Very simple chord progression, verse, bridge, chorus, verse, sprinkle a thin layer of interlude, repeat.
However, like an aged hunk of cheese rotting in the gutter, Mistress festers and grows as time progresses. What was once edible is now a festering pustule of dirty sounds and secretions. Yes, this is pretty simple music. Yes, it’s definitely tough guy. But it’s played with such flare and sneering choler that I can’t help but love it. There is no posturing, which is, ironically, what makes this digestible: the fact that it’s so spiteful and filthy that I can swallow it without complaint.
Led by Dave ‘Cunt’ (also known for his vitriolic work in Anaal Nathrakh, though the association is not played up much at all, which is refreshing), Mistress smash and booze their way through 11 tracks, the last of which is a ‘hidden’ track where Dave employs his more Anaal styled vocals and the music reaches its most destructive pitch. This is not to say that the rest of the album doesn’t burn and boil, though. It surely does, with song titles like ‘Fucking Fuck’ and ‘Alcohole’ giving a pretty clear idea as to what the audience is in for.
What makes Mistress unique in the genre of grind/crust/fuck-you/core is that they are slightly unpredictable and completely devoid of shame. Many bands want you, the listener, to think that they don’t care what you think, but few pull it off as completely as Mistress does. Don’t like the bowel churning growls? Mistress doesn’t give a shit. Don’t go for that whole ‘grind’ thing? Mistress still doesn’t give a shit. Think the clean gang vocals as a chorus are ugly and absurd? Well, they are, that’s the damn point. Mistress is a melting pot of every trick in the book, and it works.
It is difficult to invent genres anymore, considering the nearly endless supply of young minds striving for something new, but Dave Cunt and Mistress do tweak the organizing impulse a bit more than usual. It is said that some bands, while not completely their own genre, do have a bit too much twist to be put in with the rest (like Kalmah playing ‘Swamp Metal’). Now let it be said that Mistress is not simply grind, crust, or any sort of core. Let it be said that Mistress is Sewer Metal.
I’ve not heard any other band so perfectly embody the furious grime and toxic ichors of the music world’s dank and bilious underbelly.
(Originally written for Maximummetal.com)