Music Reviews
Christian Death

Christian Death

American Inquisition

Season of Mist

I feel somewhat duty-bound, as I always do when approaching the thorny legacy of Christian Death, to state that I am a Rozz Williams partisan, first and foremost. I feel equally duty-bound to state that for once this doesn’t detract a wit from my overall enjoyment of American Inquisition. In point of fact, my stubborn preferences don’t detract from the fact that American Inquisition is a stunning, vibrant, living piece of work from Valor, Maitri and co. Fuck the name, listen to the music, man. This music.

While listening to this, I’m repeatedly reminded of another group of gothic godfathers’ recent attempt to dip into the zeitgeist well, London After Midnight’s Violent Acts of Beauty. But where that album was awkward and self-conscious, Christian Death, in the midst of American Inquisition, aren’t overwhelmed by the info-feeds and scandal, they bend the “times we live in” to their own fucking will – the personal is the political, after all – flourishing in adversity, much in the same way that classic hardcore was energized by Saint Ronny in the ’80s.

Is it wrong for me to enjoy this album so much? Oh god, yes. But when you have an album that’s so salaciously glammy, rough-and-tumble dirty and conceptually grandiose enough to occasionally recall Queensryche’s glorious Operation Mindcrime as well as Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – you quit worrying and love the bomb. It’s a sweaty album, located in the hips as much, if not more, than the head. Face it, American Inquisition isn’t gonna be one that lefties and progressives use as a rallying point a la recent efforts by Bright Eyes and Bruce Springsteen, it’s a little too dark, too raw, too personal. The music is a whirlwind mix of ranchy glam stomps, skronky freakout struts, hints of musicals and theater, call-and-response boy-girl plaintiveness, CNN Headline News, The Man with the Golden Arm, world music, stygian punk, industrial and good proper rock n’ roooooooooll. (Oh yeah, that.) It’s all about control and loss of it, full of images of politics, religion, dirty money, drugs, violence and how any or all of the above can become an addiction – and the transparency of the free will myth. It’s good music by bad people for worse times.

State of the art modern deathrock, or glam rock, or rebel rock, pick yer poison. Suddenly that shadow they’ve been trapped under looks a hell of a lot more distant.

Season of Mist:

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