miércoles, 6 de enero de 2010

Christian Death - Death wish EP

Genere: Goth Rock

Similar Artists: Swans, Sex Gang Children, Faith and The Muse

Recording Year: Normal, 1984.

The founding fathers of American goth rock, Christian Death took a relentlessly confrontational stand against organized religion and conventional morality, with an appetite for provocation that made Marilyn Manson look like Stryper. Regardless of who was leading or performing in the group, Christian Death set themselves up to shock, both in their cover art and their lyrics, which wallowed in blasphemy, morbidity, drug use, and sexual perversity. Their self-consciously controversial tactics set them apart from the British goth scene, having more to do with L.A. punk and heavy metal, and thus the band dubbed its sound "death rock" instead; however, their sensibility was ultimately similar enough that the "goth" designation stuck in the end. Their music also relied on slow, doomy, effects-laden guitar riffs and ambient horror-soundtrack synths, and their theatrical performances were strongly influenced by British glam rockers like David Bowie and Roxy Music, as well as industrial provocateurs Throbbing Gristle.

The latter was especially true of the band's first incarnation, led by vocalist and founder Rozz Williams, who masterminded much of what many critics consider their best work. When Williams left in 1985, guitarist Valor Kand took over leadership and sent the group in a more intellectual, political, and metal-oriented direction. A subsequent dispute over ownership of the Christian Death name led to a bitter feud between the two, not to mention competing versions of the group, leading many of their fans to take sides. The unconverted tended to dismiss Christian Death no matter who was involved; critics often found their poetry florid and overwrought, their subject matter self-important, and their shock tactics ham-handed. Nevertheless, Christian Death had an enormous influence on the American goth scene, shaping the sensibility of countless goth, metal, and even industrial acts that followed. Sadly, the Kand-Williams dispute ended in tragedy in 1998, when a heroin-addicted Williams took his own life. Rozz Williams (born Roger Alan Painter, November 6, 1963) founded Christian Death in Los Angeles in 1979, having grown up in the eastern suburb of Pomona in a Christian family. Originally, the 16-year-old Williams called his group the Upsetters, which also included guitarist Jay, bassist James McGearty, and drummer George Belanger. The band didn't really take off until it changed its name to Christian Death (reportedly inspired by a goof on designer Christian Dior's name) and added onetime Adolescents guitarist Rikk Agnew. In 1981, they made their recorded debut with several tracks on the L.A. scene compilation Hell Comes to Your House, which also featured the more tongue-in-cheek death rock compatriots .45 Grave. Hooking up with Frontier Records, Christian Death issued their debut album, the goth landmark Only Theatre of Pain, in 1982.

Featuring genre touchstones like "Romeo's Distress" and "Spiritual Cramp," the record also included guest vocals from Superheroines leader Eva O. (born Eva Oritz), who would become Williams' wife and semiregular collaborator in 1987.Having already booked a European tour, the original lineup of Christian Death splintered amid infighting and drug abuse. Williams quickly assembled a new version of the band in 1983 by merging with their scheduled opening act, another L.A. death rock band called Pompeii 99, and eventually settled on retaining the more evocative Christian Death name. Australian-born guitarist Valor Kand, keyboardist/vocalist Gitane Demone, and drummer David Glass joined with Williams to create the best-known Christian Death lineup (bassist Constance Smith was also onboard, but was soon replaced on the tour by the Sex Gang Children's Dave Roberts). While overseas, the group recorded the second Christian Death album, Catastrophe Ballet, another much-revered goth rock record that appeared on the French label L'Invitation au Suicide in 1984. Returning to the U.S., the band formed its own label, Nostradamus, and the Valor/Rozz lineup issued its second album together, Ashes, in 1985, once again to an enthusiastic reception from goth fans. A live album, The Decomposition of Violets, was culled from the supporting tour (with second guitarist Barry Galvin now in tow) and released by ROIR.By this time, Christian Death were drawing predictable fire from religious groups in the U.S. over their lyrics, artwork, and concert performances, and were finding it easier to mount tours for their growing European fan base. In mid-1985, Rozz Williams left the band he'd founded, partly due to his increasing interest in experimental music and surrealist performance art.

Collecting a variety of alternate tracks and demos from the Only Theatre of Pain line-up, Deathwish is a great peek into some of the band's roughest beginnings. The title track is fantastic, Agnew coming up with a Black Sabbath death march riff performed with appropriate power and doom, while the rhythm section keeps things chugging. Williams is actually fairly restrained as well, making this a fine number to introduce new listeners. "Dogs" adds spooked-out keyboards for appropriate atmosphere, and once again everything connects down the line, from singing to rhythm. "Desperate Hell" is the one remaining new number, completely with over-the-top introductory wails, while the other three are demo or alternate takes on Only Theatre of Pain songs, often quite murky in comparison. "Romeo's Distress" here sounds more hollow than the more familiar run through, but still has all its catchy power intact, while "Spiritual Cramp" sounds downright monstrous thanks to Agnew's fantastic sludge-riff.

Fields Of Haze.

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