The Rock City archives: 2015

Christian Death, Rock City Basement

  • Saturday 21st November 2015

“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 apart from the British goth scene, having more to do with L.A. punk and heavy metal, and thus the band dubbed its sound "death rock" instead; however, their sensibility was ultimately similar enough that the "goth" designation stuck in the end. Their music also relied on slow, doomy, effects-laden guitar riffs and ambient horror-soundtrack synths, and their theatrical performances were strongly influenced by British glam rockers like David Bowie and Roxy Music, as well as industrial provocateurs Throbbing Gristle. The latter was especially true of the band's first incarnation, led by vocalist and founder Rozz Williams, who masterminded much of what many critics consider their best work. When Williams left in 1985, guitarist Valor Kand took over leadership and sent the group in a more intellectual, political, and metal-oriented direction. A subsequent dispute over ownership of the Christian Death name led to a bitter feud between the two, not to mention competing versions of the group, leading many of their fans to take sides. The unconverted tended to dismiss Christian Death no matter who was involved; critics often found their poetry florid and overwrought, their subject matter self-important, and their shock tactics ham-handed. Nevertheless, Christian Death had an enormous influence on the American goth scene, shaping the sensibility of countless goth, metal, and even industrial acts that followed. Sadly, the Kand-Williams dispute ended in tragedy in 1998, when a heroin-addicted Williams took his own life.” ~ Steve Hue VH1, ROLLING STONE

In 1985 the band, now fronted by Valor, left California and settled in London England which they used as a base to tour Europe relentlessly in the midst of controversy, riots, bomb threats and protests by extremist christian groups. Many concerts were canceled as a result of direst pressure by influential religious leaders such as the Bishop of Hildershiem, Germany and the Jewish Lobby of London who mistakenly misconstrued the cover of the 1989 LP “All the Hate” as antisemitic which was actually an attack on Nazi and Neo Nazi groups gaining popularity in Europe in the late 80s and early 90s.

From England the band released 9 studio and 4 live albums among them was the critically acclaimed 1988 LP “Sex and Drugs and Jesus Christ” which depicted Jesus shooting heroin and the single “Church Of No Return” which went to No.12 in the UK charts which landed the band numerous spots on MTV, VH1, Super Channel, BBC and countless other Euro television and radio shows

In 1994 Valor relocated Christian Death to the USA centered around himself and Maitri on bass and vocals. “He returned with 1994's Sexy Death God, which many longtime fans greeted as his best and tightest effort in quite some time.”~ Steve Hue VH1

While continuing tours worldwide throughout the rest of the 90s, the band released 2 more studio albums and the live in Mexico LP “Amen” which was pulled from the selves as a result of a law suit brought against the label “Century Media” by the Jehovah's Witnesses.

“In 2000, they added drummer Will "Was" Sarginson (ex-Cradle of Filth and Blood Divine) and toured Europe alongside Britain's Cradle of Filth, one of the more popular black metal bands of their time. The two groups got along well enough for several Cradle members to guest on Christian Death's 2001 album Born Again Anti Christian, helping it become one of the most metallic records in their catalog. The following year, bassist Maitri, by then the second most continuous member of the band, issued the black metal-influenced solo album Lover of Sin (confusingly labeled on the cover as "Christian Death Presents..."). In 2003, Cradle of Filth guitarist Gian Pyres officially joined Christian Death for their European tour.” ~ Steve Hue VH1

2007 saw the release of the LP “American Inquisition”, an attack on the 911 furor and the George Bush administration, the band first blatantly political statement. Followed by trail blazing new territories with several tours in South and Central America and Australasia with multiple television and radio appearances.

2008 – 2010 World Touring

In 2012 Maitri released the album”Horny Beast” with her Lover Of Sin project which featured members of Nile, Morbid Angel and other popular Death Metal Bands.

2013 Tour of The Americas. Full digital back catalogue release globaly.

2015 Release of new album “The Root Of All Evilution”. Autumn - European Tour

“One of the top ten Goth bands of all time” ~ Rolling Stone