II: The Chronovisor
~reviewed by Joel Steudler
Apparently, Mistress practices a genre of metal called 'sludge' by some. The goal, I guess, is to be as filthy and debased and wretched as possible. Mission accomplished! II: The Chronovisor is grimy and disgusting and without much in the way of redeeming qualities... socially or musically. It is brutal, which some people like, but brutality for the sake of brutality has never appealed to me. I like music that has, well, music in it. This doesn't.
Churning riffs, gravel-throated shouts, and belching death vocals abound throughout the length of Chronovisor. The aforementioned riffs, though, aren't much more than repeated powerchords, making them anything but interesting. 'How low can you go' seems to be the question Mistress asked when crafting the guitar tone for the album. The answer, it seems, is 'pretty low'. Since they went to the trouble to get down there, they rarely leave for higher ground. The death vocal blurts stay in a similarly subterranean frequency range, unintelligibly proclaiming doom. The grating gravel rasps are so abrasive they could be used for sandpaper.
I recognize that there are people who like to listen to this sort of thing. Why? What about it is at all appealing? I know that many people who have more mainstream tastes would ask the same of much of what I like, but I can usually point out some redeeming musical merit in the bands I enjoy. Many bands feature technically amazing musicians. Mistress doesn't. Others have a talented singer. None of those on Chronovisor. Some bands excel at songwriting, crafting interesting compositions that engage the mind and emotions. Mistress? Well, they inspire one emotion in me. Revulsion. There is nothing worth listening to here for anyone whose tastes are similar to mine. Or for a lot of people with tastes dissimilar to mine.
If you like to listen to people idiotically scream obscenities in grating tones while banging out artless noise on their instruments, you'll love Mistress and their sludge. Where I'm from, we have a synonym for 'sludge' that has worked its way into the vulgar tongue. It seems appropriate for use when describing this album. What's the word I'm referring to? "Crap".
Rage Of Achilles Records:
The End Records (US):