Tuesday, November 26, 2013

... femmes fatales : a review of MIST 'demo'

Ever heard of a place called Slovenia? Well, it may seem an obvious place to you readers living in Europe, but as an American with little knowledge of geography I must admit I had to look it up on a map. Just so you know Slovenia is left of Italy, below Austria, to the right of Hungary and just above Croatia…there, now that you’ve met your quota of geography for the day let me get to the point.

Slovenia is home to a band of fine musicians called Mist. Mist would seem like your normal occult themed doom band—and they are—except for the fact that all five of the members are very attractive young woman. I didn’t assume anything of the music based on this fact; I have seen many women perform very well in a variety of metal bands and let face it, sexism is better left to the past. I spun their demo, unimaginatively titled “Demo 2013”, several times and then several more times. Let me tell you, I’m hooked.

Reviewing a band’s music based off two tracks is tricky. Often times is doesn’t allow a good cross section of all a band has to offer. In the case of Mist their tracks “Phobia” and “The Living Dead” gave me a reasonable idea of what to expect from these five women of doom.

The opener “Phobia” is easily the best song of the two with excellent riffs, fantastic vocals and great lead work. The tone of the song is drenched in an occult gloom which I found much to my liking with whispering doubled over the chorus and plenty of tri tone riffage. Overall it sounds like a solid slab of traditional doom. Unfortunately “The Living Dead” doesn’t follow suit.

“The Living Dead,” proves to be the more upbeat of the duo, abandoning the creepy riffing of “Phobia” and attempting to capture a more traditional heavy metal sound. Is the song good? Yes. Is it outstanding? No. One of the stronger points of “Phobia” was Nina Spruk’s powerful and lilting vocal delivery. This vocal style is cast away on “The Living Dead,” and replaced with an aggressive, almost punk delivery which I found less then satisfying. Between the change in mood and vocal style, the difference between the two songs is abrupt and jarring leaving me to wonder if these ladies are still trying to figure out their angle.

Having said this, don’t let this minor point deter you from checking out this fine, albeit short demo from Slovenia. The instrumentation is solid, the vocals are powerful and the production is strong. My only other complaint besides style inconsistencies is that I’ve listened to this demo about twenty times and I don’t know how long I’m going to have to wait for the full album; all I can say is that I hope they hurry up and record it already; I want some more.

words by Brendan Butler

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