Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Various A Life Less Lived (The Gothic Box)

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Perhaps the most mocked, maligned, and misunderstood of rock subgenres, goth's gloomy aesthetic encompasses a host of different styles: glam, punk, metal, disco, New Wave, industrial, psychedelia, murder ballads, classical, and endless permutations thereof. Stranger still, it has thrived outside the mainstream for nearly 30 years even as many of its major artists have experienced some degree of pop success: The Cure, Siouxsie Sioux, Ian Astbury, Nick Cave, and the Bauhaus family have all emerged from their coffins into the Top 40 at some point. Others, such as Echo & the Bunnymen, Jesus & Mary Chain, and Ministry, aren't expressly goth but share enough affinity for the theatrical and/or macabre to merit inclusion on Rhino's A Life Less Lived. Notwithstanding the leatherette packaging, this 3-CD/1-DVD set is as comprehensive a survey as possible for a label that applies equally to the Misfits' horror-punk, Einstürzende Neubauten's sturm and clang, and Dead Can Dance's wispy arcana. Save godfather-of-goth Alice Cooper, all the figureheads are well-represented, including their work before, after, and between their best-known bands: The Birthday Party, Tones on Tail, Creatures, Dali's Car, Southern Death Cult. Either by influence or simply their ever-changing lineup, the Sisters of Mercy alone seem responsible for every third song. The few American groups to dent the scene – Christian Death, 45 Grave, Kommunity FK – get their due, while floridly named forgotten heroes like Alien Sex Fiend and Lords of the New Church are resurrected in all their eldritch glory. The DVD is predictably top-notch: "Lullaby," "Bela Lugosi's Dead," "Cities in Dust," etc. These days, goth may mean a Hot Topic fashion victim to most or a convenient tag to hang on angsty bands like Evanescence, AFI, and My Chemical Romance, but even that demonstrates its pervasive influence and undead staying power. Release the bats.


Dokka Chapman said...

I remember buying this when it first came out. I was still (only just) a teen and had started DJing at a local Goth night. This record is perfect for those looking to find some awesome stuff from the genre, and unlike all those other goth comps it actually features proper hits from the goth scene and not some half baked 90's crap.
I remember that year I bought it I was working nights as a data entry clerk. You've not lived until you're trying to input addresses into software at 4am while discovering Throbbing Gristle for the first time.
The set itself is beautiful. slip off the leather bound cover and you'll find stunning art, legendary photography and all the info you'll need to find more music from the acts you love, not to mention a guide to running your own goth night and a tongue n' cheek section on how to 'dance goth'.
Weather you're discovering the scene for the first time or a veteran there's something here for everyone, and if you come across a proper copy I say buy it without delay!

Anonymous said...

Some absolutely fantastic tracks on here but also a few weird sound effects -The Virgin Prunes particularly making a strange noise (perhaps they are now just Prunes!)

Absolutely brilliant blog and I am now looking for records by Skinny Puppy

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