Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mid-Week Miscellany: Acheron, The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy & More

Lamb of God seems unavoidable this week. They're seemingly every other song on Liquid Metal and, while I have nothing against the band, I've never felt compelled to buy an album and nothing I've heard so far convinces me to do so now. A few random tweets last week between myself and James Fiend led me to dig out some old Cure albums and this week has largely been a detour from the heavy stuff of late and instead has been a descent into Goth rock moodiness (but still punctuated by some good old Satanic metal, of course).

The Cure was a band I followed very fervently at the height of Disintegration-era mania at the end of the 80s. I cannot pretend to have been on the bandwagon much earlier and jumped off again after Wish and its shiny, happy "Friday I'm in Love" landed just as grunge exploded. In that brief interim, though, I grabbed much of the backcatalogue and two of the band's early records, Seventeen Seconds (1980) and Faith (1981), stuck with me for a long while through many a shift in listening habits. Seventeen Seconds always struck me with its spare and hollow sounds (and a killer single in "The Forest") and Faith fed the gloomy melancholy that latched me (and probably every other kid in the 80s) onto this music in the first place. I know the next step of Pornography stands as the culmination of the momentum started here and I won't deny its status as the first real classic in the band's oeuvre but I always felt as if these others were somehow mine and, rediscovering them this last week, it still feels that way.

And while I was pulling the Cure off the shelf, I also grabbed some Sisters of Mercy. Floodland, to be specific. Another I grabbed late in the game, this one became a staple of my rotation circa 1992 as I tried my damnedest to woo any freshman co-ed with excess eyeliner using a copy of Peter Murphy's then-new Holy Smoke and any chemicals that could be had. While the hazy listening sessions didn't usually end as I desired, someone along the way left a copy of Floodland in my room. I transferred schools and never returned the CD. Good old pre-internet days left this band and Andrew Eldritch's colorful history a mystery to me and, what's more, I had no idea that the Mission, whose Children I had been toting around for a few years at this point, were ever in any way connected with the Sisters. At the time I quickly fell for the more metallic Vision Thing but, over the years, Floodland has shifted back to favorite status. "This Corrosion" may well be what I request to be played at my funeral (I love the idea of a lush, Jim Steinman-produced 11-minute goth hymn/synthpop to keep folks shifting in their seats).

I have not, though, completely lost my focus this week as the long range forecast seems to show that travel will be just fine to drive to Columbus and The Shrunken Head for their Metal Massacre 2012 this Saturday evening. A showcase of Ohio-based metal, the event features a few bands new to me; Beneath the Sea, The Conquering and Prosanctus Inferi, as well as the incredible Dismemberment and Satanic metallers, Acheron. I knew Acheron only by name and reputation (they're not fooling around with this shit) and decided to brush up with a purchase of their most recent record, 2009's The Final Conflict - Last Days of God. It's a heavy concept, an apocalyptic "Cerberus War" waged between the three major religions, fueled by the Satanic "Wolfen Society." It's a powerful, crisply-produced, mid-tempo churning record and rocks fairly well. The subject matter doesn't offend my sensibilities though I do get a bit turned off when bands take themselves this seriously. On the upside, though, bands of this ilk often have spectacular t-shirts...


  1. I should've just went right for this instead of trying to squeeze it into 140 characters at a time.

    Lamb of God
    It's like you took the words from my mouth. I remember Laid To Rest blowing up and thinking it was pretty good. I went out and picked up the rest of the back catalog and while it's not bad or anything, it's just easily forgettable.

    The only thing I can think of is that they've somehow become this generation's Pantera of sorts but I'm going to start making generalizations and spouting stereotypes so I should probably skip that. (Also, not really a Pantera fan.)

    The Cure
    Where to start. I was definitely a late comer to them (born too late) coming on board around Wild Mood Swings but I quickly absorbed their catalog. So good. I would like to think that Robert Smith is a rock god. If not, a Goth god for sure.

    For me, the really early 'artsy' stuff is harder to get into (the cover of Foxy Lady on 3IB is so terrible. So, so terrible) but I don't hate any of it. I think my favorite album is Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. Such a great moody, dark, psychedelic album.

    They definitely have a wide range of styles as well, going from dark goth to bright and poppy surprisingly easy. Seem to almost be a love it or hate it band and the people who hate it are split down the middle: Half of them seem to hate it because it's 'gloomy put a shotgun in your mouth music' while the other half only know 'Friday I'm In Love' and think they are just poppy one hit wonder trash.

    They are definitely a Legacy band I would like to see(n) but I'm not sure how good the prospects of that are at this point.

    Sisters of Mercy
    Indeed. This Corrosion is epic. I'm also a big fan of Detonation Blvd. Big fan of the vocals, kind of a Goth staple I guess, deep male lead vocals with female backing.

    All of this makes me want to investigate current Goth music. The last time I was into it, it was seemingly headed towards mostly 'A Goth Tribute To...' albums.

    I need to put some points into this again, I've been slacking with most of what I've been listening to being pop punk (I'm starting to call it Cubicle Punk. It seems to be mostly disillusioned, 30 something, alcoholic white boys bitching about their jobs, right up my alley. That makes it sound better than Pop Punk though, right. Kinda?)

    To make up, I'm gonna go check out the St Valentines Day Massacre 2012 here in Ok (link http://www.facebook.com/events/214478041964858/ ) I think it's possibly something like 18 local bands. I probably won't make it through all of them but a friend's band, Dischordia is playing. (shameless plug http://www.facebook.com/dischordiaband if I haven't already mentioned them, it's technical prog death metal and they are pretty talented) Gonna try to cover that at least a bit and hopefully find some rad new local bands and music.

    Need to check out Acheron. I'm interested by Satanic metal. It's weird because if a band has Christian anywhere in it's name or genre, I am immediately not interested but if you mention Satan, Hell Yes, put it on. And I'm not religious or anything, I just prefer the imagery. (I'm also not really down with the whole burning down churches bit and eating your buddy's brains to gain his power though.)

    Sorry for filling up your comments section with a blog post.

  2. Your views are always welcome here and the more the merrier. Never struck me as much way back when how key Patricia Morrison's contributions were to Floodland - that bass, those vocals - they make the record (unless, of course, it isn't really her, as has been rumored...). I also need to track down the Sisterhood-Gift LP as I have, to this day, never heard a note of it.