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Christian Mistress, Witch Mountain @ The BLVD

Christian Mistress

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I entered this show feeling troubled. The world was falling apart, and I was going to a metal show? I expressed this unease on Monday, to which one commenter replied, “Music blogs might seem inconsequential at the moments when life comes down to pure survival, but there have to be (even frivolous) things to live FOR once the dust settles”. That was unsatisfactory to me. I don’t think of art or music or metal as frivolous. Those things aren’t important for survival, but a lot of people live for them. The night would bear that out.

Witch Mountain is a name you’ll hear much more of soon, if there’s justice left in this world. Their killer new album South of Salem comes out April 9. Witch Mountain are like a doomier, female-fronted Goatsnake. That means ’70s-flavored rock/doom with creepy-crawly riffs and a huge Hendrix fetish for guitarist Rob Wrong. He even plays his Strat left-handed. “Strat” is not synonymous with “heavy”, but out of Wrong’s came some of the sickest tones I’ve ever heard: big, growling chords and demonic-sounding wah-wah. He also knew when not to play. The set was a master class in dynamics. Drummer Nate Carson played both softly and loudly, and Wrong and bassist Dave Hoopaugh followed along as if joined by string. Sometimes they let it slack, sometimes they drew it taut; always they moved purposefully. Vocalist Uta Plotkin strutted and wailed with bluesy abandon. For a white girl, she’s got soul.

Afterwards, Carson forced a t-shirt upon me, even though I had but a few dollars. I told him I didn’t want him to lose money while touring. He said that he loses money just by doing the band. He actually looked happy saying that.

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Witch Mountain – “Wing of the Lord”

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Christian MistressAgony & Opium album (20 Buck Spin, 2010) undersells them quite a bit. Many rated it highly, but I found its production dull. Good music seemed to lie underneath, however, so I wanted to hear it live. It did not disappoint. I felt as if I were glimpsing Iron Maiden during their salad days, banging it out in clubs. Christine Davis isn’t the most powerful singer, but then again, Paul Di’Anno wasn’t, either. What she has that he had was attitude in spades. Speaking of spades, the band also channeled Motörhead seamlessly. It was a tight, fighting unit, with a tinge of cock rock swagger. Strangely enough, it reminded me of Wormrot in its “right notes at the right time” savvy. The set was a never-ending escalation of great riffs. “Thought that riff was good? Check this one out!”

Check them out we did, particularly one fellow who is probably still sore from pumping his fist. One could see pores on faces and fingerprints on guitars. Strings emitted cheap, deadly lightning. Drummer Rueben Storey hit so hard that Dave Grohl came to mind. Talk about skull-smacking snares! The performance was low-slung but epic, in the way that old Iron Maiden and Motörhead records are. Humans aren’t much on their own, but when they get together with electricity, good things can happen. I left feeling how the best metal makes me feel: glad to live life.

— Cosmo Lee

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Christian Mistress’ demo 12″ comes out April 1 on Unseen Forces.

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Witch Mountain 1

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Witch Mountain 2

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Witch Mountain 3

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Christian Mistress 1

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Christian Mistress 2

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Christian Mistress 3

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