Ljubljana in Slovenia is not a city that springs to mind when it comes to Doom. In fact the only reason I have heard of this capital is because Laibach erupted from there decades ago. Unlike their fellow country folk Mist do not offer up agit-prop industrial collages. Rather, this all female band (last time I mention it I promise) riff out melancholic Doom metal that will delight (in a gloomy way) fans of Pentagram, Candlemass and that band from Brum.
This, their first full length offers ten tracks of seriously groovy early seventies sounding Doom. Nina Spruk’s lead vocals are full and powerful, her accented English giving a nice edge and she avoids the pitfall of “doing a Grace Slick” which seems to be the “doing an Ozzy” of the last few years.
The Ghoul as an opener is a damn fine track. Pounding drums and a driving rhythm get things underway – the altar is set out and awaiting a willing victim. Ora Pro Nobis has a Sabbath feel to it from the big bass grooves to the choppy riffs in between – it’s not exactly original but it is pretty fun.
It’s not all roses in this gloomy garden. White Torch doesn’t do a lot for me – it’s a song that I have heard so many times before in the last few years . The execution is great but in an overcrowded retro doom world there needs to be a little smidgeon of something different.
December which follows offers a few changes of pace and when the song is stripped back at its midpoint with dual vocals my ears prick up. There is definitely a hint of Black Widow in here and the vocal line is at complete odds with the delightfully depressing bassline. It makes the drum intro of Altar of You seem almost wantonly happy. That is before a big dirty riff cuts in. Mist have a good sound, everything sounds big and organic. The rhythm section is strong and forms a great foundation for the vocals and guitars to launch from. I just feel something is missing.
Talking of missing parts – Disembody Me is up next and things slow down. The riff has me in its thrall and I find myself banging my noggin like a sloth along with the groove. It’s like Strange Kind of Woman played at half speed. Then things take an upbeat turn with The Offering and I think we are in Jess and the Ancient Ones territory. I just go to search out my flounciest mumu and scarves but things turn dark. Not too dark though there is still a spine of psychedelia running through this beast. Which segues nicely into Demonized, a beefy ditty with a slightly off kilter guitar solo.
Delirium is a head nodder of a tune. Nice riff not a bad chorus but just a little samey. Mist bring things to a close with the title track. Starting slow and building to a mid-pace before unleashing a bit of rock spirit before settling back down into a slow paced groove.
Over all “Free me of the Sun” is a good retro doom album. The grooves are catchy and the overall feeling after listening is one of enjoyment but this is muted slightly by a missing x factor. I would like to hear a wilder more raucous side that seems to be lurking beneath the surface and could help the quintet rise above large crowd of also rans in the subgenre.
(6/10 Matt Mason)