Christian Death




album review


Only Theatre Of pain

‘LET'S SKIRT the issue of discipline

Let's start an illusion

With hand and pen

Re-read the words and start again.’

THE PEELING BELLS at the start of this platter sound out a funeral knell as fittingly eerie curtain raiser to the forty-odd minutes of gore-spattered vinyl which follow.

Christian Death are the ear-curdling sound of thunder cracking out over the lighting-licked cemetery as the hands on the clocktower touch at midnight. They venture where the air is green and thick, sending sulphurous twitches into the nostrils. At their fire-breathing best they strip the sham of the lesser gargoyles of the whole horror rock genre.

Apparently, the gruesome foursome have already become Batcave faves (which can be taken both as compliment and insult and either way amounts to little) on the strength of the import copies of this album that have crawled across from California where the group originate.

Its UK release finds the thing handsomely housed in the original packaging, all tasteful shades of back and tres-gothique lyric sheet.

The words are the central business here. Tales of twilight and madness spat out by singer Rozz with a curious blend of anguished mocking and mock anguish. The music, a brand of searing, simplistic dark intensity matches the verbals perfectly. Spitefully high-kicking back and forth on a tightrope that separates brutal reality from chocking hamminess.

Viewed as a project in its own right, Only Theatre Of Pain, is an artefact where the constituents compliment each other to a tee and the entire finished thing is a solid realisation of the ideas fed into it. Consequently, this is a disc that yells love it or leave it, in loud proclamation of its own worth without needing critical dotings as a leg-up into the realms of legendary.

Take this as you find it. It craves a final resting place and all you’ll be left desiring is more.


© mick sinclair

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To read many more articles and reviews (over 140,000 words-worth!) written by Mick Sinclair, buy Adjusting the Stars: Music journalism from post-punk London