Christmas’ Time Is Here
Julie Christmas is no stranger to underground metal fans. Her main mouthpiece, Made Out Of Babies, has been making waves in Brooklyn and beyond for the past decade, and she’s expanded her influence with side project Battle Of Mice. Now, Christmas brings us her diverse first solo endeavor, The Bad Wife.
The album begins with “July 31st,” which alternates between stripped-down rock and oceanic post-metal. “Bow,” the lead single, showcases Christmas’s trademark vocal delivery, moving effortlessly between “little-girl-lost” melodies and “you-cheating-scum” bellows. The midpoint of the album, “Six Pairs Of Feet And One Pair Of Legs,” is the perfect soundtrack for wandering alone through an abandoned hospital after dark, with its ominous piano, cymbal scrapes, and tortured wails. “The Wigmaker’s Widow” is an oddball, featuring an accordion and a march-like snare drum, and sounding like a dimly lit Parisian alley. Similarly, the trip-hop Portishead groove of “I Just Destroyed The World” catches the listener off guard, before we exit on familiar heavy metal ground with “When Everything’s Green.”
As a whole, The Bad Wife is a well-produced record, covering a wide range of styles. It’s not afraid to take risks, but that doesn’t always pay off. Now that Christmas isn’t shrieking over heavily layered, atonal garage rock, it becomes apparent that she has some issues with her clean delivery. This isn’t so bad in small doses, but when listening to the album start to finish, it becomes a little grating. On the other side of the coin, we can now hear all the disturbing, colorful metaphors that Christmas peppers her lyrics with, and get a closer look at the person she truly is.
If you enjoy Battle Of Mice, The Bad Wife will tickle your fancy as well, but fans of Made Out Of Babies should be cautioned: it’s not as “metal” as you’d expect. And newcomers? If you like hearing a woman give the boys club that is heavy metal a good rattling, this is the place.