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Only Theatre of Pain

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iTunes Review

You could call this 1982 debut album from Christian Death the birth of deathrock, or even Yankee goth. It’s a noir-flavored perversion of postpunk that finds singer Rozz Williams crooning his way through guttural appeasements atop driving rhythms, pitched noises, and droning and shuddering guitars. Meant-to-provoke notions of necrophilia, bondage, death, and incest abound, to the point of parody. But it’s basically rock ’n’ roll, the kind that rises from dark basement corners and can still scare parents. Strangely melodic tunes such as “Stairs—Uncertain Journey,” “Romeo’s Distress,” “Spiritual Camp,” and “Figurative Theater” prove the band were too formidable to dismiss.

Customer Reviews

Christian Death

Best Goth Album Ever. Doubt me? Listen up then... I bought this when it FIRST CAME OUT and IT STILL HOLDS UP TOO THIS DAY, Amazing! They don't make REAL music like this anymore...

Christian Death

Rozz Williams, that is all. No, but this album is perfect in every way. It is a good album to get into, especially if you aren't too familiar with Christian Death. Perfection.

The Best.

There's absolutely no question, Rozz is the king.


Formed: 1979 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The founding fathers of American goth rock, Christian Death took a relentlessly confrontational stand against organized religion and conventional morality, with an appetite for provocation that made Marilyn Manson look like Stryper. Regardless of who was leading or performing in the group, Christian Death set themselves up to shock, both in their cover art and their lyrics, which wallowed in blasphemy, morbidity, drug use, and sexual perversity. Their self-consciously controversial tactics set them...
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