Gothic Rock | Post Punk | Wave & Alternative

The Sisters of Mercy

The Sister(s) of Mercy – Distance over time

“We are a rock ‘n’ roll band.
And a pop band.
And an industrial groove machine.
We are intellectual love gods.
We make records, sometimes.
We play concerts, sometimes.
You’re here anyway.
This website contains ninety-seven million words, which are
REDEMPTION” and “BEACH“.
You’re welcome.”

(www.thesistersofmercy.com)

“It’s all a matter of technique. We have it, and you don’t, so if you shut the fuck up, we’ll play some songs and everyone’ll be happy.”
Andrew Eldritch

What else is there to write about the Sisters? Is there anything to write about them in a book about gothic music? Are the Sisters even gothic? Or gothic rock? Or alternative rock? Or just dark rock? Are the Sisters even significant to the “scene” any longer? Were they ever significant? And why is it that Mr. Eldritch fights so hard not to be associated with the goth scene? Will there ever be a new album? Or just tours? Will Eldritch‘s voice ever recover to such an extent that you can describe his whimpering as singing?

These are questions the world does not need. So you will not find answers to most of these question in this book. Nobody knows if there will ever be another studio album by the Sisters.

The Sisters are and always were more of a rock band than a gothic band, and they always defined themselves as a rock band. Or as a pop band. Or as intellectual love gods. Anyway.

It is a fact that the Sisters and their music came from the gothic scene, which they accompanied and shaped. But at some point the music became too great and the so-called “gothic” scene grew too small for this band. And the band turned into Andrew Eldritch‘s one man show. And rightly so. Without him, his songwriting and his lyrics the Sisters would not be where they are today. He made the Sisters great. And currently he is making them small again. He gave birth to the Sisters, he raised them, made them successful, and he will let them die when it is time. But that’s not what we’re going to talk about now. Instead, we will try to explain a phenomenon and tell the story of a band that has not released an album in the past 24 years but still tours the world playing to packed venues.

1980 to 1983: Music for slaughterhouses and asylums

Line up 1980:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals & drums)
Gary Marx (guitars)

Line up 1981 – 1983:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Gary Marx (guitars)
Ben Gunn (guitars)
Craig Adams (bass)
Dr. Avalanche (drums)

Live cover versions:
Sister Ray (Velvet Underground)
1969 (The Stooges)
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (ABBA)
Emma (Hot Chocolate)
Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones)
Ghostrider (Suicide)
Louie, Louie (The Kingsmen)
Jolene (Dolly Parton)
Medley:Teachers/Adrenochrome (Leonard Cohen/The Sisters of Mercy

Tours:
Spring Tour 1983
Trans Europe Excess

“Music suitable for slaughterhouses and asylums” is how Andrew Eldritch described the first years of the Sisters in an interview with German television.

Andrew_Eldritch_and_Gary_Marx

Founded 1980 by Gary Marx (Gary Mark) and Andrew Eldritch (Andrew Taylor) with the intention of recording an album to hear themselves on the radio. This goal was quickly achieved with the single “Damage Done” (B-side: “Watch/Home Of The Hitmen“). The label “Merciful Release” was founded and the single was sent to local radio stations. We still don’t know who sings this single. The fact is that Gary Marx played the guitar and Andrew was on drums.

Seems like the guys enjoyed making music. But they also realized that Andrew sang a lot better than he played the drums, so they decided to let Andrew sing and buy a small drum computer. The band without a drummer was born. This cute little helper was baptized Dr. Avalanche, and at their first gig on 16 February 1981 the Sisters were joined by Ben Gunn (Benjamin Matthews) on second guitar and Jon Langford on bass. Who was soon to be replaced by Craig Adams. Recordings of the first concerts available as bootlegs clearly show how much the Sisters sounded like slaughterhouse and asylum.

Noise and screaming characterized the first concerts. But they also had ideas for new songs. The next single was “Body Electric/Adrenochrome“ (April 1982, not released on Merciful Release for financial reasons), which made the Sisters known nationwide and led to a growing number of followers.

This development was consolidated by the next singles, “Alice/Floorshow“ (Nov. 1982) and “Anaconda/Phantom“ (March 1983). “Body Electric“, “Alice“ and “Anaconda“ have become classics and are still heard regularly today. Altogether they can be seen as typical for the Sisters’ early creative development. Driving bass lines, noisy guitar hooklines cutting into the head, and a monotonously and mercilessly stomping Dr. Avalanche.

In May 1983 the first masterpiece followed: The “Reptile House E.P.” How to describe songs like “Kiss”, “Lights”, “Valentine”, “Fix” and “Burn” with all their humour, their depression, their darkness and their mood? Maybe by placing them in the historical context of the Falklands war? As a dark, cynical counterpart to “I am sailing” by Rod Stewart?

”Love for the party, love for the nation
And love for the fix, for the fabrication
And love for the corpse, for the corporation
Love for the death and for the defecation
Romance and assassination
Give me the love for the genocide
Give me love”
Fix

Reptile House E.P

A detailed review of the “Reptile House E.P.” regarding music and lyrics would be a hundred pages long and more than this article could contain. However, “The Reptile House” was the reason the Sisters were able to play their first gigs on the continent. At these concerts they introduced a song that is now considered a true classic: “Temple of Love“ (B-side: “Heartland/Gimme Shelter“) was released in October 1983 and is the song that led to the Sisters‘ breakthrough: Full of energy and drive, an inferno descends upon the listener after the long guitar intro. And, because success and growing fame go hand in hand, major labels were increasingly interested in the Sisters.

However, the band, and especially Eldritch, rejected all the initial contracts offered by the major labels. Instead the band experienced its first conflicts. But it finally happened at the end of 1983. The band signed with WEA. However, just before the contract with WEA was signed, Ben Gunn left the band after some concerts in the US, because he believed the Sisters had turned into a parody of themselves. The band had lost its first guitarist. Many more would follow.

1984 to 1985: First and Last and Always, but not for good

First and Last and Always

Line up 1984 – 1985:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Gary Marx (guitars)
Wayne Hussey (guitars)
Craig Adams (bass)
Dr. Avalanche (drums)

Live cover versions:
Knocking on Heaven`s Door (Bob Dylan)
Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin)

Tours:
US tour 1984
Trans Europe Excess
2nd US tour 1984
Summer-Festivals
Black October
Tune in Turn on Burn out – Armageddon

After Ben Gunn had left the band, the band was joined by a guitar player who was received critically by fans at first: Wayne Hussey (Jerry Lovelock). Why was he received critically? Because he had previously played in a band called “Dead or Alive”. Yes, that’s right. The ones with “You spin me round”.

And no, Wayne Hussey was not a founding member of the Sisters. In fact, of all the guitar players he is the one who stayed with the Sisters for the shortest period of time. But let’s continue. In June 1984, the band released its first single after signing its record deal. “Body & Soul“ (B-side: “Train/Body Electric/Afterhours“) was a lot more pop and sounded a lot brighter, which might be due to a more professional recording environment.

The only song that stands out from this creative phase is “Afterhours”, which is still used as an intro at concerts, and features a dark booming bass and Eldritch‘s sepulchral voice. The year ended with the release of “Walk Away” in October 1984 (B-side: “Poison Door/On The Wire“), a song in which Eldritch deals with Gunn leaving, and which crashes down on the listener with an incomparable guitar intro:

“If you would name the things
That bring you down on me so I could say it’s
Not quite true if you don’t really
Know or understand the circumstance
Behind then I might clear your
Mind and you won’t have to go so…”
Walk Away

Looking back, “Walk away” could also be regarded as a look into the future. Two songs on the single’s B-side, “Poison Door” and “On the Wire”, are far better than most A-sides by so-called goth bands. In February 1985 the single “No time to cry“ (B-side: „Blood Money/Bury me Deep“) was released as a prelude to the first album. Whereas “No time to cry” was rather commercial, the B-sides of this single were more convincing. “Blood money” and “Bury me deep” did not make it onto the album, but they are now considered classics by every Sisters fan.

Finally, in March 1985, the Sisters‘ first studio album appeared, entitled “First And Last and Always”. Sophisticated guitar lines, ingenious compositions, Eldritch‘s sepulchral voice and a minimum of synthesizers characterise the album. Thematically the songs deal with breakups, the nuclear holocaust, fear of loss, loneliness and abandonment. Basically everything you need for a good party. The compositions of the A-side were dominated by Hussey, the songs of the B-side by Marx.

For those unfamiliar with vinyl: the album is dominated by Hussey from “Black Planet” to “Marian”, and by Marx from “First and Last and Always” to “Some Kind of Stranger”. Gary Marx left the Sisters during the album tour and founded Ghost Dance because of personal differences with Mr Eldritch about the future of the Sisters. The three remaining members continued the tour, finished it with the legendary gig at the Royal Albert Hall and began working on the new album entitled “Left on Mission and Revenge”. But disagreements soon arose. Apparently, Andrew wanted to use more synthesizers while Hussey and Adams wanted to become more commercially acceptable, more rock. Anyway, this lead to a breakup on friendly terms at this time, and that was the end of the Sisters. For the time being. Raise the curtain for the Sisterhood.

1986: An unwanted gift

“What you have lost can never be found
Words are just dust in deserts of sound
Everything is lost and your trust lies broken
And the truth is drowned”
Giving Ground

After the break-up, Eldritch, Hussey and Adams agreed that nobody would use the name “The Sisters of Mercy” for any new projects for now. Hussey and Adams founded a new band with Simon Hinkler and Mick Brown and called it “The Sisterhood”. It was clear that Eldritch would see this as an affront. “The Sisterhood” was the name of a group of hardcore Sisters fans following the Sisters from concert to concert. Insiders know that there are still quite a few of them.

So the new band had a name that was definitely Sisters-related and contradicted all deals and agreements. What happened? On 20 January 1986 Hussey‘s and Adam‘s Sisterhood played their first gig in London. On the very same day the single “Giving Ground” by a band called “The Sisterhood” was released on Merciful Release. This was Eldritch’s Sisterhood. And, according to English law, it would remain Eldritch’s Sisterhood by publishing the single. Hussey and Adams then renamed their SisterhoodThe Mission“.

And Eldritch put the boot in once more by publishing the album “Gift” (the German word “Gift” means “poison”) in June 1986. “Gift”, and the single “Giving Ground”, are dominated by keyboards and synthesizers rather than guitars. Eldritch had written all the songs for the album, but for legal reasons he was not allowed to sing. So James Ray did the vocals, while the rest of the project consisted of Patricia Morrison, Alan Vega and Lucas Fox. In terms of text, the Album was a way to get even with Hussey and Adams and a way to process all the legal wrangling that took place during their separation and fight about the rights to the name. Today songs like “Giving Ground” or “Rain from Heaven” are part of the live repertoire of the Sisters. But “Gift” was only a small taste of the flood.

1987 to 1989: “And the wind blows wild again”

Line up 1987 – 1989:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Patricia Morrison (bass)
Dr. Avalanche (drums)

Work on the “Gift” album led to a cooperation with bass player Patricia Morrison (formerly of Gun Club); apparently everyone got on. In September 1987 there was a sign of life from the Sisters: the single “This Corrosion”, produced by Meatloaf‘s producer Jim Steinman. But this single was not really a sign of life. It was an impact. An earthquake. A bombastic inferno, opened by the 40-strong choir of the New York Choral Society, driven by a bass line unique for the Sisters and Dr Avalanches merciless drums that leave the audience unable to catch its breath The song escalates to an infernal finale which ends in Eldritch telling all his critics and former band members that there is nothing left to say that he has not yet said. Rumour has it that these lines were also directed in part at Wayne Hussey.

“I got nothing to say I ain’t said before
I bled all I can, I won’t bleed no more
I don’t need no one to understand
Why the blood run hold
The hired hand
On heart
Hand of God
Floodland and Driven Apart
Run cold
Turn
Cold
Burn
Like a healing hand”
This Corrosion

“This Corrosion” became the Sisters‘ first commercial hit single and reached 7th place in the UK singles charts. The B-side of “This Corrosion” consists of “Torch” and of “Colours”, a song already familiar from “Gift”, but sung this time by Eldritch.

In November that year the Sisters released their second album, “Floodland”. Dark, bombastic, dominated by keyboards and synthesizers, largely composed by Eldritch and produced by Jim Steinman. The atmosphere of the album is heavily influenced by Hamburg, Eldritch‘s adopted home at that time, by the closeness of the sea (“At the head of the river, at the source of the sea“, Flood) and by impressions of the Chernobyl catastrophe (“Mother Russia rain down“, Dominion).

On “Floodland”, the guitars move into the background to make room for Eldritch‘s acoustic scenery and Jim Steinman‘s megalomania. But the album can still be described as “bombastic rock” because of some rocking songs like “Lucretia” or “This Corrosion”. However, one composition stands out from this schema, and that is a wonderful piano piece called “1959”. “Dominion”, the second single, was released in February 1988. “Dominion” was not as commercially successful as “This Corrosion”, but its B-side was a goody for the fans: a studio cover version of “Emma” (originally by Hot Chocolate), a song that the Sisters had played live at every concert from 1983 to 1985.

Maybe this was an apology for the fact that no tour or live concerts were announced for the album in spite of its huge success. Although the Sisters toured all the time during their first 5 years, it now seemed as if they did not want to play live any more. Instead, expensive video clips were produced, including “Dominion”, which was filmed in Petra, the city of stone. “Lucretia My Reflection” was the last single to be released during the “Floodland” era. And suddenly the Sisters universe was silent again. For almost three years. It seemed as if Andrew Eldritch had nothing left to say that he had not said before.

1990 to 1993: Funny exploding noise in your head

Line up 1989:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Andreas Bruhn (guitars)
Tony James (bass)
Dr. Avalanche (drums)

Line up 1990 – 1991:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Andreas Bruhn (guitars)
Tim Bricheno (guitars)
Tony James (bass)
Dr. Avalanche (drums)

Line up 1992:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Andreas Bruhn (guitars)
Tim Bricheno (guitars)
Dr. Avalanche (drums, bass & synths)

Line up 1993:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Andreas Bruhn (guitars)
Adam Pearson (guitars)
Dr. Avalanche (drums, bass & synths)

Live cover versions:
He`s got the whole World/Always look on the bright side of Life (Traditional/Monty Python)
Medley: Comfortably Numb/Some Kind of Stranger (Pink Floyd/The Sisters of Mercy)
Stop dragging my heart around (Stevie Nicks)
Silvermachine (Hawkwind)

Tours:
Tour Thing 1
Tour Thing 2
Tune In Turn On Load Out
Overbombing

“Get it
or wait another three years
for God and his angels
to make this funny exploding noise in your head again”
Advert for the Vision Thing-Album

A strange picture presented itself to audiences at the 1990 Bizarre festival on the Loreley: just before the Ramones concert, three guys in rocker outfit entered the stage to announce the Ramones. And to announce that a band called “The Sisters of Mercy” had recorded a new album and would go on tour in autumn. They were Andrew Eldritch, Tony James (formerly Sigue Sigue Sputnik) and Andreas Bruhn. It was a sensation, and details about the album and the oncoming tour were given at the press conference during the Bizarre festival. No comment was made on the whereabouts of Patricia Morrison, but it was explained that Tim Bricheno would join the line-up as a second guitar player, and that the coming album had been written by Eldritch and Bruhn.

The first single from the album “More” (B-side “You could be the one”) was released in October 1990 and clearly demonstrated that Eldritch had reinvented the Sisters once again. “More” was again produced by Jim Steinman, but this time metal riffs and guitars dominated, still bombastic, but rocking and far from the darkness of the “Floodland” album. Too much for some supporters, too much for fans of the gothic scene. “They’ve turned into a metal band” was a comment often heard from gothic fans at that time. But sales figures told their own tale, and again Eldritch succeeded in increasing the number of his Sisters fans.

“Vision Thing” was released in October 1990 and started high in the charts all over Europe. The album is characterised by hard guitars, straight song structures and a rock attitude that made many of the fans at the time ill at ease with the Sisters. However, songs like “Ribbons”, “Vision Thing” or “When you don’t see me” went in the right direction and catapulted the Sisters to higher spheres. Maggie Reilly’s backing vocals (most people will be familiar with her as the singer of Mike Oldfield’s “Moonlight Shadow”) were one of the things that made “Something fast” what it is: a beautiful, thoughtful hymn that makes people link arms and sing along.

“Vision Thing” grapples with the American foreign policy of the late 80s/early 90s and with media propaganda in songs like “Vision Thing“ or “Doctor Jeep”
(“I like Cal and his dog Napalm, I like Ike and his itty-bitty A-bomb,
everybody got one, I want mine
you can order it up on Channel Nine“
Dr. Jeep).

But the album also contains very intimate songs like “I was wrong” and “When you don’t see me“ (“you bought a mask, I put it on, you never thought to ask me, if I wear it when you’re gone”
When you don’t see me).

The next single, Dr. Jeep” (B-side: “Knocking on Heaven’s Door [Live Bootleg Recording]“) appeared in December to go with the sold-out tour that opened with two secret gigs under the name “Speed Kings” in Drogheda, Ireland. Although it started high in the charts as well, it had significantly less commercial success than “This Corrosion” or “More”.

In the meantime the band spent their time playing extensive tours in Europe and America (with Public Enemy, amongst others). 1991 did not bring any significant news, the Sisters headlined all major European festivals and played in front of up to 100,000 visitors, for example at the “Rock-am-Ring” festival. Fans were slightly mystified by a press release towards the end of the year saying that Tony James was being replaced by Dr Avalanche. And by the fact that the single “When you don’t see me” was released by WEA in February 1992, 18 months after the release of “Vision Thing”.

But this confusion was nothing against the blow that followed in April. The Sisters great classic, “Temple of Love”, was released as a single in a new version. Newly recorded with Israeli singer Ofra Haza, the song reached number 3 in the English single charts and was one of the summer hits throughout Europe in 1992. There was no new album, but April also saw the release of “Some girls wander by mistake”, a compilation of all singles and EPs from 1980 to 1983. Rather than being driven by commercial reasons, this compilation was intended to allow old and new Sisters fans to become acquainted with the early Sisters without having to spend a fortune at record fairs and on bootlegs.

Some gigs at festivals in Germany and Belgium followed, after which Tim Brichenos left the band. For almost a year everything went quiet, especially as Andreas Bruhn wanted to use his fame gained as a member of the Sisters to pursue a solo career. An attempt that was condemned to fail from the very beginning.

In the summer of 1993 the Sisters played live again as a support act for Depeche Mode. The guitar player that came on stage besides Andreas Bruhn was Adam Pearson. Nobody knew at that time that he would stay with the Sisters for twelve years.

In August 1993 the first “Greatest Hits” compilation (“A Slight Case of Overbombing”) was released at the same time as a single (“Under the Gun” / B-side: “Alice 1993“). Initially “Under The Gun” was a shallow pop ballad by singer and composer Billy Hughes, who had died in the meantime. However, “Under The Gun” is not a cover version, since Eldritch provided the song with a Sisters finale after his own liking. The result was a kind of “Jennifer Rush with an Uzi” song. Shallow synthesizer melodies and soft drums dance around a duet by Eldritch and Ex-Berlin singer Terri Nunn (yes, the one who sang “Take my breath away“), before, in the finale of the song, the guitar machine guns are drawn and the playful melodies are slaughtered. Commercially, the song never got above number ten in the charts anywhere in Europe.

At the end of the year there were some festival appearances and a tour with the Ramones. During this tour, the band presented a new song called “Come Together”, but then they went on strike.

1994 to 2014: Waiting for the album, or hope springs eternal

Line up 1996
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Adam Pearson (guitars)
Chris Sheehan (guitars)
Dr. Avalanche (drums, bass & synths)
Ravey Davey (nurse to the doctor)

Line up 1997 – 1999:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Adam Pearson (guitars)
Mike Varjak (guitars)
Dr. Avalanche (drums, bass & synths)
Si Denbigh (nurse to the doctor)

Line up 2000 – 2003:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Adam Pearson (guitars)
Chris Sheehan (guitars)
Dr. Avalanche (drums, bass & synths)
Si Denbigh (nurse to the doctor)

Line up 2005:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Adam Pearson (guitars)
Chris Catalyst (guitars)
Dr. Avalanche (drums, bass & synths)
Si Denbigh (nurse to the doctor)

Line up 2006 – 2012:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Ben Christo (guitars)
Chris Catalyst (guitars)
Dr. Avalanche (drums, bass & synths)
Si Denbigh (nurse to the doctor)

Line up 2012 – present:
Andrew Eldritch (vocals)
Ben Christo (guitars)
Chris Catalyst (guitars)
Dr. Avalanche (drums, bass & synths)
Ravey Davey (nurse to the doctor)

Live cover versions:
Confide in me (Kylie Minogue)
Bei mir bist du schön (Shalom Secunda/Jacob Jacobs)
Medley: Capricorn/I didn`t knew i loved you till i saw you Rock ’n’ Roll (Motörhead/Gary Glitter)
Medley: Sugarbabylove/I wanna be sedated (The Rubrettes/The Ramones)
Uptown Top Ranking (Althea&Donna)
Pipeline (The Chantys)
John, I´m only Dancing (David Bowie)
Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Weber)
Gift that Shines (Red Lorry Yellow Lorry)
Miserlou (Dick Dale)

Tours:
Roadkill/Goldkill (1996)
Distance Over Time (1997)
Event Horizon (1998)
Summer (1998)
Sisters To The Planet Edge (1999)
Sisters Trip The Light Fantastic (2000)
Exxile On Euphoria (2001)
Europe 2002
Smoke And Mirrors (2003)
Twothousandfive (2005)
Sisters Bite The Silver Bullet (2006)
Europe 2007
Europe 2008
Ocean To Ocean (2008)
Mechanised (2009)
Europe 2010Sisters XXX (2011)
Europe, Austalia, New Zealand, Latin America 2012
Sisters 2014/because

How to describe the Sisters’ last 20 years? In 1994 to 1995, disagreements with the label led to a strike, in 1996 there were only a few appearances at festivals with a new line up (Andreas Bruhn had been replaced by Chris Sheehan). The strike began because, due to a reorganisation at WEA, the Sisters suddenly belonged to EAST WEST/TIME WARNER. Eldritch felt that he had been sold short, and had not received adequate supported from East West. There was endless legal wrangling about the final album, which had been contractually agreed but not delivered; in the end, Eldritch found a way to meet his contractual obligations with a small ploy, which was probably accepted in part because EAST WEST/TIME WARNER were also sick arguing and other bands were more important.

The ploy became part of the band’s history as the SSV album.

SSV is short for the acronym SSV-NSMABAAOTWMODAACOTIATW, which in turn is short for “Screw Shareholder Value – not so much a band as another opportunity to waste money on drugs and ammunition, courtesy of the idiots at Time Warner”.

Which is the name of a music project that had nothing to do with the Sisters in terms of music, except for some vocal samples by Eldritch in some songs on the “Go figure” album. “…[the] album (‘Go Figure’) features music by P.Bellendir and words by T.Schroeder“. That is how it is described on the Sisters‘ homepage.

Be that as it may, a miracle happened and, because of these vocal samples, EAST WEST/TIME WARNER regarded the contract as fulfilled, even though the album was never published. Why? Because it was intended to be bad.

Now the band had gained a new kind of freedom, it announced it would release a few indie singles like in its early years. The first single was to be “Summer”, but for unknown reasons this indie single was never made. The same is true for the DVD that was also announced. From the early 2000s until about 2005 some of the Sisters‘ gigs had been filmed with multiple cameras, but only a short clip, consisting of a live version of the new song “We Are The Same, Suzanne“ was published.

From this perspective, this clip from 2003 was the last official release except for some album compilations and remastered albums (2007), some of which contained demo recordings for collectors.
Since 1996 Andrew and his boys have played regularly to packed venues on extensive tours around the world and have presented new songs to their fans. They have even been sighted in Lebanon and Japan. The band even played some gigs in France, a country not popular with Eldritch (it is said that the first draft for the “Floodland” album cover was to include a map of Europe with France flooded by the sea). It would be unnecessary and boring to list all the tours and the years they were played. Or to talk about the quality of individual concerts. Or to discuss the presence of Eldritch‘s voice at different tours, or if there was too much or not enough fog (“Fog me and mumble me numb”). Instead it would be interesting to talk about the new, unreleased songs here. Which is highly subjective, of course. Here we go in alphabetical order:

“Arms“ (2009):
Staccato guitar riff, passing into a chorus similar to the Flood II hook line. Simple, short, brilliant. A must at every concert. The hook line in the chorus has the potential to be bawled at a football stadium. At least the potential to be hummed.

“Come Together” (1993):
One of the weaker new songs. And presumably the oldest. Has nothing to do with the Beatles. A mid-tempo song trying, and failing, to develop a sing-along potential in its chorus.

“Crash and Burn” (2000):
“Crash and Burn” has everything a hit single needs. Hard guitar riffs, a brilliant bridge leading to an awesome finale, interspersed with rock, brilliant synthesizers and lyrics that show a flash of Eldritch’s genius and humourous way with words “Do I drive, or am I driven? Can I break, what I’ve been given?“

“Far Parade” (2009):
“Far Parade” is easy to describe. Apparently nobody apart from the current line up of the Sisters has ever heard this song. “Far Parade” has never been played live, or hinted at during a soundcheck. The only proof of its existence are the lyrics on the Sisters’ homepage, but Ben Christo says it’s a great song. Let’s just believe him.

“I Have Slept With All The Girls In Berlin” (2003):
A song whose mood is strongly reminiscent of “Nine while Nine” or “Heartland”. Atmospheric, thoughtful, quiet. The writer of these lines is unable to say whether this title can be verified for Mr. Eldritch.

“Romeo Down” (1998):
Driven by a melodic bass line in the foreground, “Romeo Down” develops a menacing mood, from which the listener is only released by Eldritch yodelling “One Romeo Down!” in the finale of the song. A superb song that, when played live, only reaches its full potential if Eldritch is singing.

“Still” (2006):
“Still” is a driving song that makes listeners nod their heads. Not enough for head-banging, but good fun.

“Summer” (1997):
Summer combines the synth-heavy character of Floodland with a guitar hook line that could have been written at the same time as First and Last and Always. An epic synthesizer intro leads to a tune reminiscent of songs like “Logic”, only to bring the intro crashing over the listeners again in the chorus. Definitely has the potential to become a single.

“Top Nite Out” (2000):
Siren, guitar inferno, instrumental. That’s all it takes. Need it, want it.

“War on Drugs” (1997):
“War on drugs” has this “Our man in a white suit in South America” flair. The speed of the song increases rapidly up to the finale, which is an infernal chaos of guitars and screaming. In between, “War on Drugs” sounds almost epic with its delicate guitars. Could have been the soundtrack to “Apocalypse now”. “Seven Shades of Shiva rising, let’s do the war on drugs!“

“We are the same, Suzanne” (1998):
Suzanne. No hit single, but could be a classic. A simple bass line dancing with a wonderful guitar hook line. At least before the chorus.

“Will I Dream?” (1998):
Motorcycle rock song in the style of “You could be the one”. Definitely a B-side. A good song to go and grab some beers at a concert.

Report by Frank Spieker

 

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