Gothic death rock pioneers CHRISTIAN DEATH are now announcing the final half of their four part ‘The Dark Age Renaissance Collection’ series!
Gothic - United States
In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth. Then CHRISTIAN DEATH turned it upside down.
Formed in Los Angeles and fronted by 16 year old vocalist/lyricist Rozz Williams, the band released first album “Only Theatre of Pain” in 1982. A dark, sinister style of punk rock, the album gained local success, but a year later the band completely broke up.
Rozz then joined the band POMPEII 99, founded by singer, guitarist and song writer Valor. Rozz took over vocals, leaving Valor to focus on guitar. Before Rozz joined POMPEII 99, the band had already released their first album “Look at Yourself” to much acclaim, which had an apocalyptic theme with a punk rock flavor. The band had been planning their first tour when the record company proposed to merge POMPEII 99 into a new version of CHRISTIAN DEATH, which after some debate was agreed upon. Thus began the new CHRISTIAN DEATH, and the first POMPEII 99 tour became the first CHRISTIAN DEATH tour.
Part way through the tour, the band stopped in Wales to record songs, some of which were originally intended for the next POMPEII 99 album. The result led to the unique sound of the classic “Catastrophe ballet” album which, like the first POMPEII 99 album, had an apocalyptic theme. However, the music morphed into something not quite POMPEII 99 and nothing like the first CHRISTIAN DEATH album. After the tour the band returned to L.A. to record the third CHRISTIAN DEATH album, “Ashes”, which was a post apocalyptic vision of a cold and bleak future.
After the 1985 tour, singer Rozz left the band. Valor then returned to vocals and the band embarked on another tour. When in Italy, CHRISTIAN DEATH recorded the mini album “The Wind kissed Pictures”, a surrealist view of a mystical past. Almost immediately, work began on the fourth full length album, “Atrocities”, inspired by the atrocities of World War II and the connection to future shock waves. While continuously touring in 1987, the band released their fifth and now classic album “The Scriptures”, the theme of which explored world religion and how the legacy of these beliefs impacts our world.
1988 brought the release of “Sex & Drugs & Jesus Christ”, which was a turning point for the band. The cover depicted an image of Jesus shooting up heroin – a full frontal attack by Valor against the Church with its scathing heretical mockery of organized Christianity. The band then found themselves confronted by protesters, riots and bomb threats. These events and CHRISTIAN DEATH’s imagery and fashion went on to influence the likes of NINE INCH NAILS, KORN, MARILYN MANSON, TYPE O NEGATIVE, every gothic band on the planet and many others.
The following year saw the release of the double album epic “All the Love, all the Hate”, interpreting the juxtaposition between life and death, day and night, man and woman, black and white. In 1991 came “Insanus, Ultio, proditio, Misericordiaque”, with its theme of an ancient dream state. Later that year, after being in several bands and seven years after quitting the band, Rozz was persuaded to perform in Los Angeles under the name CHRISTIAN DEATH. On the same day, CHRISTIAN DEATH were performing in Paris, France. Assuming this was a one time effort to earn extra cash (as explained to Valor by Rozz), Valor ignored the incident and carried on recording and touring only to later learn that a live album of the show had been released using the name CHRISTIAN DEATH, followed by a hastily recorded studio album also using the name, which led to a turf war. As accusations and rumors against Valor were spread by the financial backers of these unofficial releases, fans were left confused. Valor persevered.
By 1995, female vocalist and bass player Maitri – the now second most continuous member of CHRISTIAN DEATH – joined the band to record “Sexy Death God” which proclaimed sexual freedom in the face of religious adversity.
Sadly in 1997, Rozz committed suicide. It is believed heroin played a role. No suicide note was found. That same year, CHRISTIAN DEATH released “Pornographic Messiah”, a colorful elaborate return to the ‘sex versus religion’ theme. 1999 saw the release of “Born Again anti Christian”, an assault on Born Again Christians, which featured members of CRADLE OF FILTH. In 2000 the band promoted the album on tour with CRADLE OF FILTH. While on tour, former CRADLE OF FILTH drummer Was Sarginson played in CHRISTIAN DEATH.
In 2003, Maitri released her debut album and band LOVER OF SIN, with songs and production collaboration by Valor. Later that year, CRADLE OF FILTH guitarist Gian Pyres joined CHRISTIAN DEATH for the 2003 tour, and LOVER OF SIN was the support.
Now in 2007, CHRISTIAN DEATH deliver their epic new album “American Inquisition”. Though this is a concept album and a form of protest, its theme is subtly woven throughout the entirety of the music and perhaps, to listeners of the bands previous works, an unexpected departure. In contrast to the negative connotations implied, this album is actually quite upbeat and much more positive. Artistic protests are not new to this band and in the past, the band has been very blatant about getting the point across, to the dismay of some, accusing the band of using shock value tactics.
This time around their efforts are somewhat more ambiguous, leaving it up to the discerning listener to pick up on the innuendos. Rather than using a word or phrase as a double entendre, whole songs are intended to skew the listeners overall perspective. The album features male and female duet style vocals, rare and exotic ethnic instruments, both child and adult choirs.
With band members on opposite sides of the U.S., the production of this album suffered many inconveniences, delays and cancelled flights. So the band repented and eventually god answered their prayers. Final recordings were made in Maine, Florida, Massachusetts, regions of Heaven, divisions of Hell.
Brothers and sisters are you the problem? The solution? Intelligent design? Or evolution?
- Valor Kand : male vocals, guitars, violin, strings, keyboards
- Maitri : female vocals, bass guitar, keyboards
- Ryan Paolilli : drums
Gothic death rock pioneers CHRISTIAN DEATH will be reissuing their long out-of-print 1985 EP ‘The Wind Kissed Pictures’ on November 19, 2021 via Season of Mist! This will be the first time in 30 years that it will be available on vinyl format.
Gothic death rock pioneers CHRISTIAN DEATH have revealed the special, limited edition ‘The Dark Age Renaissance’ CD collections for Part 3 and 4!
CHRISTIAN DEATH OFFICIAL will re-release their iconic 1988 album ‘Sex & Drugs &Jesus Christ’ on vinyl on September 25! Pre-orders are now live HERE!
CHRISTIAN DEATH are streaming the first new track from their forthcoming album ‘The Root Of All Evilution’, which can be pre-ordered here and has been scheduled for release on vinyl on the 16th of October (November 13th in North America). The US Goth legends have also announced European tour-dates, which can be viewed together with the details of their new album below.