Christian Death

Buy the best compact discs, rare vinyl records and cassettes by this amazing dark and gothic band featuring the amazing vocals of Rozz Williams

The second and final studio album made as a full collaboration between Rozz Williams and Valor Kand, Ashes finds Christian Death at what might have been simply the beginning of a long-term partnership of quality rather than a final break. Williams' vocals are much more controlled and immediately powerful than in the band's overwrought early days, substituting a quieter sense of later, David Bowie-inflected drama instead of, say, Ziggy-era Bowie squealing. Kand's lyrics aren't any less laden with images of religion, twisted sex, insanity, and mystic rites -- a ritualism well matched throughout by the music -- but the near-adolescent goofiness of earlier times feels much more considered and focused here. Kand, in the meantime, brings a much more consciously artistic edge to his music than Rikk Agnew did on Only Theatre of Pain; the aggressive power is tempered by a huge theatricality that still works, almost in spite of itself. Not to say that this era of Christian Death can't rage as hard -- the conclusion of the opening track, "Ashes" itself, is a frenetic explosion of sound, where drummer David Glass and singer/keyboardist Gitane Demone also earn their keep.

With 1986's Atrocities, Christian Death guitarist Valor asserted himself as the band's primary musical and conceptual force. His was a more political direction, overtly attacking organized religion rather than simply subverting it. While there's a self-important tone to some of the lyrics, it's musically still near the top of the Christian Death oeuvre.

Catastrophe Ballet finds Christian Death at its early peak, both focused on and committed to the music. The subject matter revolves around the subversive juxtaposition of the religious and the erotic, while the arrangements utilize minor-key metal guitar riffs and eerie synth backings.

In the middle of pursuing his various goth/glam efforts and using the Christian Death name even while Valor Kand was still leading his own version of the group, Rozz Williams finally did the right thing and got the original lineup back together again for a one-off concert. Well, almost original -- bassist James McGearty sat it out, replaced by one Casey, but otherwise it was Williams, Rikk Agnew, and George Belanger together again, with Rikk's brother Frank adding some guitars as well. Iconologia captures the end result, logically concentrating on Only Theatre of Pain material but with a few ringers as well, including two honest-to-goodness new songs by this particular lineup. Casey actually gets the first word with the introductory "Excommunicamus," a collage of samples that purees everything from sex squeals and church choirs to invocations of Satan and destruction, but after that it's full-band business galore. Kicking off like Only Theatre did, with "Cavity -- First Communion," the revitalized quartet tears into everything with the appropriate punk-inspired energy. Williams wisely doesn't try to replicate his 1982-era singing, instead favoring his higher, clearly Bowie-inspired quaver and jettisoning the bored moaning; he sounds like he's having the time of his life. Agnew shows no slack either, cranking out some great, freaky solos when he's so inclined, while Casey and Belanger keep the band and enthusiastic crowd moving. When it comes to the new songs, "Cry Baby" makes for a nicely fried glammy treat, while "Some Men/The Other" is even more so, an explicit early Bowie tribute that works wonders. In a telling homage to roots, Lou Reed's excoriating "Kill Your Sons" gets a strong runthrough, accompanied by an amusing intro from Williams.

And thus was American goth rock born. Perhaps an extreme statement, as one could argue 45 Grave beat Christian Death to the punch, if with a lot more intentional humor. Still, it's about the only thing that can be said upon listening to Christian Death's debut, Only Theatre of Pain, released in 1982 and influencing more bands that can be counted since then. The member who got the most attention was, unsurprisingly, singer Rozz Williams, but guitarist Rikk Agnew is the secret weapon that makes this album so good. With the first phase of the Adolescents (and a solo album) behind him, he brings his punk-inspired work here, and with the help of longtime producer Thom Wilson, who sat behind the boards here, the two created a perfectly ominous world of tolling bells, heavily treated guitar, and general spookiness. Bassist James McGearty and drummer George Belanger keep the murky energy going and thankfully aren't afraid to kick up a storm when needed either. The most memorable song is "Romeo's Distress," a catchy slice of doomy punk-pop that admittedly has one of the most un-PC lyrical starts around. Throughout, the band either kick out the melancholy jams, McGearty's purring bass leading the way, or sheer atmospherics, some quite effective. Witness the slow wash of sound concluding the first side and kicking off the second, or the combination of noise, keyboards, and treated vocals on the closing "Prayer."

One of Christian Death's best latter-day efforts, Sexy Death God is largely Valor's show, finding him handling strings and production chores as well as guitar and vocals. The key to the album is that Valor has toned down the overambitious concepts and concentrated more on songwriting

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Guitarist Valor Kand gets even more ambitious on his second album as the lead vocalist of Christian Death; Scriptures is as much his take on comparative world religions as it is a goth rock album -- in the words of the liner notes, it's "a translation of world beliefs by Valor." It's rather grandiose and pretentious, of course, but that's often what Christian Death does best, and those are the qualities that give their music its impact. The balance provided by Rozz Williams is missed, but Scriptures is still one of the band's strongest albums without him.

Later in 1989, Kand collaborated with guitarist Nick the Bastard to release the double album All the Love and All the Hate. "All the Love", disc one, and "All the Hate", disc two, was a concept album exploring the juxtaposition and extremes of love and hate. This release featured the videos "We Fall Like Love" and "I Hate You". The vocals and lyrics for the latter, from All The Hate, were provided by Kand's son Sevan (who was about five years old at this time), and was inspired by a fight with a boy twice his age who had pushed him into a bed of stinging nettles. Also at this time, the band toured with Dutch born drummer Jean-Victor DeBoer and UK bass player PJ Phillips (from the Nina Hagen Band). Their Dutch tour manager Jack Noordhoek also played guitar on the tour. The extensive European tour was called "All The Love...All The Hate" and finished at London's Astoria Theatre.

Sex and Drugs and Jesus Christ is the sixth album for Christian Death. This was a turning point for the band. The cover depicted an image of Jesus shooting up heroin. This was a full front attack by Valor against the church with a scathing heretical mockery of the organized Christianity.

1. Annwyn, Beneath The Waves - Faith & The Muse/USA
2. Flash In My Veins - Silke Bischoff, D/Peter Field
3. Dawnland - Love Like Blood/D (New Song)
4. Demon - London After Midnight/USA (Rare EP-Track)
5. Kick It - Nitzer Ebb/GB (Dr. Know mix)
6. Bin Ich Es Denn - Das Ich/D (Dem Ich Den Traum)
7. Dawnrazor - Fields Of The Nephilim/GB
8. Dreamland - Girls Under Glass/D (New Song)
9. Chains - Dreadful Shadows/D (Autumn-Remake '96)
10. If Only - Born For Bliss/NL (New Song)
11. Disorder - Shock Therapy/USA (Unrel. Joy Division-Coverversion)
12. Godsent - The Dreamside/NL (live)
13. Kleine Schwester - Umbra Et Imago/D (Scharfer Zahn-Remake)
14. Precious Limetree - Darc Entries/D (Extreme mix)
15. To A Loyal Friend - Sopor Aeternus/D (New Song)
DISC 1: Nothing - Rosetta Stone (important mix)
Children Of The Light - Eva O Halo Experience
Strangers - Fahrenheit 451
Telecommunication - Blitz Second Empire Justice
Side Show - The Wake
I'm Coming - Executive Slacks
Orchid Dreaming - Big Electric Cat
Cats Or Devils Eyes - Children On Stun
Ignore The Machine - Alien Sex Fiend
Neuro - EXP
Eternal Ocean - Black Atmosphere
Wake, The - Midnight Configuration
Elvis Christ - Death Ride 69
Resurrection - Brotherhood Of Pagans
Alone - Prophetess
Emanulle - Ex Voto

DISC 2: Mephisto Waltz - Mephisto Waltz
Omen, The - Two Witches
We Will Not Fall - Kommunity FK
Haloes - Christian Death
November Dream - Usherhouse
Kristen - Screams For Tina
Remembering Love - Super Heroines
Garden Of Temptation, The - Aurora
Gutter Glitter - Switchblade Symphony
Exit - Icon
Wax - 45 Grave
Last Expressions - Aria
Talk About The Weather - Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
Keeper's Call, The - Nosferatu
Believe - Wreckage
Heavenly Melancholy (Set Me Free) - Gitane Demone
Patient - Corpus Delicti
Gothspotting is a decent overview of the state of goth-rock in the late-'90s, also mixing in a few veterans like David J, Alien Sex Fiend, Christian Death, and the Virgin Prunes. Other featured acts include Delerium, Rosetta Stone, Big Electric Cat, Switchblade Symphony, Chandeen, the Wake, Nosferatu, the Alpha Project featuring Gitane Demone, Suspiria, Corpus Delicti, Children on Stun, Edera, and Die Laughing.

Song List
Spirit - Delerium
Magic - Alien Sex Fiend (Pyramid mix)
Witches - Switchblade Symphony
Nothing - Rosetta Stone
Nazarene - The Wake
Eyelash - Big Electric Cat
Ulakanakulot - Virgin Prunes
Silverheart Music - The Alpha Project/Gitane Demone
Gathering, The - Nosferatu
Gods Take Dust - Suspiria
Twilight - Corpus Delicti
Celibacy And Anadin - Children On Stun
Good Things - Edera
Cervix Couch - Christian Death
Nemesis - Die Laughing
Strawberry Passion - Chandeen
Party Is Over, The - David J
Song List: 1. Incubus - Electric Hellfire Club
2. Isolation - Die Krupps
3. Heritic's Fork - Spahn Ranch
4. Recoil - Pygmy Children
5. Friends And Executioners - Rosetta Stone
6. I Hate You (Remix) - Noise Box
7. I Believe What You Said (Leather Strip Remix) - Psychic TV
8. Christine (Remix 2.4 Whatever) - Wake
9. Omniman - Download
10. Who Do You Love? - Birmingham 6
11. Andromeda - Synaesthesia
12. Clown - Switchblade Symphony
13. Follow Me (Machine Rock) - Kill Switch...Klick
14. Fuck Da World - Klute
15. Lost Minds (THD Remix) - Christian Death
16. Cyberium (On Speed) - Razed In Black