Disjecta Membra – Achromaticia: Twentieth Anniversary Edition
Disjecta Membra formed in Hamilton, New Zealand, in December of 1993, and Achromaticia was the group’s début full-length album in 1997, through Heartland Records in Melbourne, Australia. New Zealand already had a long history of important contributions to the ‘dark post-punk’ canon, but Achromaticia marked the first (and perhaps only) time a New Zealand band achieved international cult status and widespread acclaim within the unabashedly ‘goth’ scene.
The earliest print reviews to come out of the UK signalled the promise and potential of an emerging new band, but it is perhaps Disjecta Membra’s longevity and musical evolution that have seen Achromaticia’s stature and influence magnified with time. Since the group’s 2013 re-emergence from extended hiatus, accompanied by a steady flow of new and often divergent output, Achromaticia is now increasingly referred to in terms like “seminal”, “majestic”, “classic”, “iconic”, “essential”, “legendary” and even “masterpiece”.
Long out of print, surviving copies of the original pressing have been known to sell on eBay for upwards of $US100. To commemorate the album’s twentieth anniversary, Achromaticia is about to become available on disc for the first time in more than fifteen years.
Never to be repeated, the Achromaticia: Twentieth Anniversary Edition is a deluxe, limited edition of 500 individually hand-numbered 3-CD sets, accompanied by a 12-page booklet, and brought together in a specially customised 8-panel card wallet softpak.
The collection contains the original album on Disc I, accompanied by two 70+ minute bonus discs of early demos, live performances, studio out-takes, compilation appearances and previously unreleased tracks; and yet another album-length digital download of rarities from the same period.
Painstakingly compiled over the latter half of 2017, these bonus contents document the group’s progression from the first rudimentary garage demos in early 1994, through to the album’s release and subsequent Achromaticia New Zealand Tour of 1997.
Advance presale ordering is available now: a rare opportunity to own a piece of underground music history. http://disjectamembra.
“…the seminal ‘Achromaticia’ album in 1997 undoubtedly set the tone for the band. You can’t record a track like ‘Cauldron of Cerridwen’ and not attract the tag of ‘goth’. Organs, all-embracing synth, big theatrics, wiry guitar and baritone vocals tend to end up with people forming those kind of conclusions however one might think these labels are of limited value. Reviews that reflect the self-confessed influences of Bauhaus and The Banshees also bolster that assessment. But to my ear Disjecta Membra’s ‘Achromaticia’ already had the potential to take one of many different routes stylistically. It did not fit neatly into any one of the myriad of sub-categories (admittedly multiplied by the industry in more recent years for marketing purposes) and left open the door.”
– Ed Shorrock, UK, for Absolution NYC (2016)
“Living legends in the New Zealand scene”
– Mick Mercer, UK (2014)
“I bought the album right away after listening to the highly addictive opening guitar riff of ‘Cauldron Of Cerridwen’, which is undeniably one of the finest tunes Nineties Gothic Rock has to offer. You want New Zealand’s finest? You got ‘em. All hail Disjecta Membra!”
– Thomas Thyssen, Gothic Magazine, Germany (2013)
“Disjecta Membra’s darkly poetic 1997 debut, Achromaticia, has come to be both highly regarded and highly collectable over the years… the album is replete with those theatrical, ethereal, and melancholic moments that define evocative and enrapturing gothic rock. ‘Achromaticia’ is also a timeless example of dramatic and romantic late-90s gothic rock; and elements of death rock, darkwave, and post-punk can be found on the album too. ‘Achromaticia’ is one of those albums often spoken of in hushed whispers (“Yeah, but have you heard…”). And it’s as majestic and moving today as it ever was.”
– C. Haze, Six Noises, New Zealand (2015)
“For Twenty Years, Disjecta Membra have built an enduring reputation as New Zealand’s flagship of Gothic Rock”
– Rip It Up, New Zealand (2013)
“Disjecta Membra remain one of the scene’s finest underrated bands – never fail to keep a dancefloor busy, and me having to write down who I just played.”
– DJ Martin Oldgoth, UK (2013)
“The Southern Hemisphere has in the last few years been producing some great bands, such as Ikon, Subterfuge, Ostia and now you can add Disjecta Membra to the list. Hailing from New Zealand, Achromaticia is their debut CD and one which hints at great potential… Early 80’s influences abound, Banshees, Cure and even Bauhaus. The majority of the tracks are powered by a drum machine whose likes have not been heard since the early days of Rosetta… Vocalist Michel imbues the tracks with their gothic identity… Power is something that weaves the tracks together, although one of the album’s most intriguing tracks is Malcolm. This track features a spoken word performance by Deonne Rowland… So sweet and girlish are her vocals and so delicate the music, it’s totally at odds with the rest of the album. Achromaticia is an album which demands your full attention.”
– Matthew Faulkner, Interference Zine, UK (1998)
“I bought Disjecta Membra’s ‘Achromaticia’ in the late 90s, and have been a big fan of this iconic Goth Rock band ever since… One of my favourite goth rock albums ever!”
– Michelle Driver, Shadowplay Radio, Australia (2013)
“Achromaticia” was the debut CD of Disjecta Membra, released in 1997, which decreed them as a leader in the gothic rock genre of New Zealand, their country of origin. Beautiful, a decadent and disarming romanticism are both poetic and sensual at the same time. Their ethereal sound is reminiscent at times of Christian Death, Lacrimosa and in some songs, such as “Third Song”, even those of the early Cure… “Achromaticia” is a true masterpiece of the genre.”
– Ursula Coppolaro (translated from Italian), Gothic World, Italy (2013)
“Vicious guitars screech like teeth dragging across a wrought iron fence. Unholy organs emit spiralling, ghastly drones. Rhythms rise and fall. Overlooking the proceedings, a dark male voice issues gloomy words.”
– Marc Kate, Listen.com, USA (1999)
“…an accomplished debut, at times showing the influence of Bauhaus and The Banshees… Skin Trade is… all Steve Severin bass and frosty guitar. Malcolm is an enchanting, kooky song – amp noise and the sound of leads being plugged and unplugged form the rhythm while a soft, girlish voice narrates a topsy-turvy Alice In Wonderland fairy-tale. Androgyne Waltz adds to the experimental feel. It sounds like a wacky merry-go-round spinning out of control. My favourite track is Danse Macabre with its clattering drums, mesmerising bass and Bowie-like vocals, which cry out “Buggery in the back room!”. There are many pleasurable moments on this promising first album.”
– Joanne Owen, BRV Magazine, UK (1998)
“Disjecta Membra may convince cynics that goth has indeed risen again… New Zealand’s leading goth band.”
– The Lamia’s Song: Dark Music, Australia (1997)
“Originally formed in 1993 the band released its debut album Achromaticia in 1997, so now we’re still talking about it two decades later… ‘Cathedral’ does a wonderful job of setting the tone for what is a very atmospheric album… ‘Skin Trade’ incorporates a lot more traditional gothic rock elements with its blending of keys and guitar, but it’s not until ‘Third Song’ (the fourth track) that you start to hear the best guitar work. The album features an impressive variety of tracks, whether its the hypnotic spoken word style of ‘Malcolm’ or the dark cabaret feel of ‘Androgyne Waltz’, but perhaps what is more impressive is the way the album is put together. Start to finish takes you through a great variation of tracks without ever feeling broken, and all the while maintaining an incredible atmospheric quality that borders on the ethereal, particularly through-out ‘The Sleep’… Though it would be easy to talk about every individual track of the album nothing will compare to actually hearing it… With the Twentieth Anniversary Edition re-issue of Achromaticia coming soon to CD, don’t miss the chance to add it to your collection.”
– Vince Clark, Altearoa, New Zealand (2017)