CD Review

V/A - "Christian Death: Death Mix"

by Marcus Pan

Death MixAs our subculture grows and expands, becomes more prevalent in its latter days, it's only natural that there will be some bands that arise as "THE gothic bands," or at least considered classics and looked upon with reverence for days to come. Among these will be the UK favorites of The Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus - these are bands that will go down in the history books penned with a flair and sealed with love from fans around the world. Their influence is seen, heard and felt in generations of bands that follow and will continue to follow as the subculture moves ever onward, disgracing those who claim it as just another "fad." For two decades now, and admittedly I only partook and enjoyed the latter one, the goth subculture has grown to embrace new technologies as they reared their heads - the computeresque erotica of Kraftwerk; the surreal hooks of Sigue Sigue Sputnik; the blaring guitar of Ministry; the sample-ridden and scraping explosion of Skinny Puppy. But in most cases even these branching genres can be traced back to its roots; late 70's punk rock and early 80's darkwave punk-crossover classics.

This is one of those times I'm happy to be an American. You see, it was Germany who began the industrial/electro revolution. The UK who kicked off the punk and darkwave monsters that have clawed their way into our hearts today. But there are a few bands from my side of the pond that will go down in the black history books of the subculture that I have embraced and that has embraced me. First and foremost - there is Christian Death. For once, it is the Europeans that are remixing the work of one of our own. And while the American band remakes of European classics are so prominent - there are, after all, so many classics that have filtered into our head as their guitar strains and electronic hooks floated across the Atlantic - it is good to see homage given, just this once, to our contribution to a subculture that we have received second hand.

Kicked off by Rozz Williams in LA, California in 1979, Christian Death has been pouring their hearts into their music at the behest of an established and wide-ranged cult following. Shocking the public with their views on organized religion (as their name implies) and lascivious album cover art, they've turned out a stunning amount of releases for any musical outfit. By the 90s there have been at least two bands using the moniker - plaguing the group with court battles, album litigation and the like. To end what many say is the life of Christian Death, Rozz hanged himself in April of 1998 following a bitter fight with heroin. At least one Christian Death is still going - I'm upset to say that I just missed a live show at QXT this past weekend due to illness.

The Death Mix CD is not so much music by Christian Death, but actually strong-armed remixes of some of their work. You'll find electronic masters like Claus Larsen (Klute / Leather Strip), Bill Leeb & Rhys Fulber (Frontline Assembly), Matt Green (Spahn Ranch) and Strom Und Klang (Laibach). I mentioned previously that it was nice to see European outfits remixing the work of a stateside band like Christian Death. Not all are from across the pond, however - though most are.

The quality of the work here on Christian Death: Death Mix hovers from damn good to not so. The opening track, Death Wish (Wishful Death Mix) by Birmingham 6 is a strong example of the damn good portion. However, the contribution "supervised by Laibach," The Angels (The Zend-Avesta Mix) tends to get a bit monotonous by the song's end, lent to by a beat track that seems too slow for the creation. Also in the mono-drone department we have the twelfth track, Mother (Forgiveness Mix) by Controlled Bleeding. Meanwhile the Lights Of Euphoria submission, Sleepwalk (Hypnotic Remix) is an excellent piece of work with great computeresque yet metallic synthetic melodies and a riveting drum track. I quite enjoy Claus' version of Figurative Theatre (Klute Version) as well, which appears here on track 9.

All in all, the names alone that you see listed on this CD as contributors, remixers and, of course, the originators of Christian Death themselves is enough to make most old skool goths tease their hair to new heights and hit the nightclubs. Some of it could have been left out - but among the total are more than a few exciting and well made revisions to our stateside legacy.

Contact Information:
Post: Cleopatra, 8726 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. D-82, Los Angeles, CA, 09945
Web: http://www.hallucinet.com/cleopatra/
E-Mail: cleoinfo@cleorecs.com

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