Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Christian Death's first album, "Only Theatre of Pain" (1982), is a formidable and highly original death rock album. Christian Death, fronted by vocalist Rozz Williams and guitarist Rick Agnew, drew from the darkness, drama, glam, and romanticism of 1970's David Bowie, combining it with heavy, acid-tinged doom rock. Rozz's vocals are a cross between David Bowie and something entirely of Rozz Williams' own creation. They are slightly grating and melodramatic, yet at the same time are tuneful and highly addictive. Rozz's lyrics remind me more of the surreal cut up writings of William Burroughs and the beautiful, poetic prose of Jean Genet than they do those of horror rock. Sure, Rozz's lyrics are loaded with shock value, but he pulls it off very poetically and brilliantly. Rick Agnew's guitar playing is incredible, combining the doomy riffing of Black Sabbath with frighteningly pychedelic guitar solos while retaining a strong sense of melody at the same time. This is my favorite Christian Death album. All tracks are great, but my favorite is "Spiritual Cramp", which you can listen to below. Pick this album up. It's in print, so it shouldn't be too hard to find.

If you like this album, you should pick up "Ashes" and "The Iron Mask" as well. Both great discs. Any Christian Death with Rozz Williams on vocals is good. He also released several highly original and adventurous solo and side projects. There is another version of Christian Death with Valor Hand on vocals, but the Rozz Christian Death is definitely the stronger of the two. Sadly, Rozz Williams committed suicide in April of 1998 at the age of 34. His music always will be missed.


T.L Bugg said...

This is an album I used to listen to a lot when I was younger, but I haven't heard it in years. I'm going to have to change that!

Steve Smith said...

I don't blame you. It stands up to the test of time.