Christian Death - Only Theatre Of Pain

Legendary debut album back from the grave - again

Only Theatre Of Pain

Desperately in need of an outlet for his frustration at the world, 16-year-old vocalist/ lyricist Rozz Williams formed Christian Death in October 1979. Fascinated by religion and death (and possessing of an often-overlooked humor – the band name was a word play for Christian Dior), he found a kindred soul in former Adolescents guitarist Rikk Agnew and together they created a sound that was unique in the synth-pop-dominated early 80s.

Clearly drawing an influence from punk, they added nervous riffing, dark basslines, furious drums and darkly violent, yet intelligent, lyrics to create a rollercoaster ride of anger and doom. It’s fast, furious and breathtaking – and created a storm upon its release. Only Theatre Of Pain’s influence should not be underestimated, either. Issued on Frontier in March 1982, it proved to be a pillar of the emerging goth-rock genre.

Unfortunately, Christian Death met their own doom just one year later, when vocalist Valor (of Pompeii 99) joined the band and gradually took over the reins (with not an original member in sight, he leads a watered-down version of the group to this day). This umpteenth issue of OTOP (we make it the 23rd), however, is the real thing, adding value with its purple vinyl and bonus single featuring two previously unreleased tracks. Amazing stuff for those who dare to listen!

5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars

Frontier | 31007-1 (LP+7”)

Reviewed by Freek Kinkelaar
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