Christian Death - Catastrophe Ballet review


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Band: Christian Death
Album: Catastrophe Ballet
Release date: 1984

01. Awake At The Wall
02. Sleepwalk
03. The Drowning
04. The Blue Hour
05. As Evening Falls
06. Androgynous Noise Hand Permeates
07. Electra Descending
08. Cervix Couch
09. This Glass House
10. The Fleeing Somnambulist
11. Awake At The Wall [live] [bonus]
12. The Drowning [live] [bonus]

After the release of the masterpiece debut album "Only theatre of Pain" everyone but Rozz Williams left Christian Death. Then a band named Pompeii 99, moving in death rock soundscapes, [formed by Valor (vocals and guitars), Gitane Demone (keyboards) and David Glass (drums and percussion)] asked Rozz Williams to join them for a European tour and he agreed. And it was the time when Rozz and Pompeii 99 continued under the name Christian Death. The sound of Christian Death was about to change and become more affected and various remaining in the death rock, which is in fact the American gothic rock, quite different from the UK gothic scene of the 80s, fields that Rozz Williams with Christian Death formed with "Deathwish" (1981) and "Only Theatre Of Pain" (1982).

Rozz Williams evokes through his lyrics and interpretation distressful/paranoiac whilst at others depressive/desperate visions in the air whereas Valor Kand dresses is lyrics with the appropriate musical background enriching the grey portrait with Dadaistic colors. "The concept of Catastrophe Ballet reflects the juxtaposing forces of birth and death, the omnipresent backdrop of catastrophe as we choreograph each step in the ballet called life" (Valor).

The album opens slowly with the paranoiac tranquillity of "Awake at the wall". Slow keyboard melodies accompany Rozz Williams' serene interpretation while in the background Valor's guitar chords can be heard along with the ecstatic screams of Gitane DeMone. As the song reaches its end becomes more intense prefacing "Sleepwalk" that begins with stunning and imposing drumming. As Rozz Williams enters the song with his descriptive voice Valor's guitar riffing becomes more intense whilst Gitane paints the soundscape with her voice, when she enters, and her keyboard melodies adding a distressful feeling to the song.

A mid-tempo composition based on guitar chords and Williams' descriptive voice, "The Drowning", continues the album. Williams sings in full passion interpreting in a dramatic way and Valor evokes the ideal atmosphere with his guitar chords whilst the bass pulses along with the rhythmic drumming lend groove to the song. The soft guitar chords open the following low-tempo composition, "The Blue Hour", and the rhythmic drumming and the ethereal keyboard melodies follow, accompanying Valor's chords and Williams' calm, yet so descriptive, interpretation expressing in a mesmerizing way his pessimistic, but also thoughtful, lyrics. "As evening falls", which follows, starts echoing and it is another Christian Death masterpiece. Stunning guitars along with groovy drumming accompany Rozz Williams while expressing his caustic lyrics. "Here we are now in this God awful state where there's nothing left to say. Let's lose ourselves in a picture dressed for the occasion, then lock it away…"

"Androgynous noise hand permeates" comes next being an utterly paranoid instrumental composition serving the album as an intermission. Imposing drumming along with lunatic guitar riffs and some keyboard effects perform this small composition leading to "Electra Descending". Another wonderful composition with static rhythmic drumming, devout lurking keyboard melodies, great guitar riffing with Valor showing his abilities as a guitarist and Williams delivering lessons of acting. Williams' peaceful interpretation and DeMone's atmosphere-evoking keyboard melodies along with the rhythmic drumming begin the next composition, "This Glass House". The whole song is a mid-tempo one, except for the choruses where the whole band does its best with Williams and DeMone enriching the composition with their unique voices, DeMone evoking atmosphere with her keyboard ideas, Valor with his flaming guitar riffing and David Glass with his quickening drumming.

"Cervix Couch" that follows is a slow atmospheric composition. Williams sings in an almost reciting way while the rest of the band accompany him playing in a slow mourning way evoking a paranoiac feeling. "The fleeting somnambulist" ends the album in full paranoia. A clock's sound, piano pieces, militaristic movement, sirens calling, amusement park sounds, voices reciting… A mixture of different sounds coming from different places, different times, different dimensions…

I guess there's no need to say that this is a must for all the Rozz Williams fans and death rock freaks out there!


Written on 08.02.2005 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."

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