The founding fathers of American goth-rock, CHRISTIAN DEATH released their debut, Only Theatre of Pain, on Frontier Records in March 1982, and that landmark album has had an enormous influence on goth, death-rock, dark-wave, metal and even industrial music scenes all over the world, shaping the approach of more bands than can be counted. Led by vocalist and founder Rozz Williams, the CHRISTIAN DEATH of Only Theatre of Pain included guitarist Rikk Agnew, fresh out of THE ADOLESCENTS, bassist James McGearty, drummer George Belanger and backing vocals from Superheroines leader (and Rozz's future wife), Eva O as well as performance artist Ron Athey. It was this line-up, with its dirgy, effects-laden guitar riffs and ambient horror-soundtrack synths, that crystalized the ominous post-punk sound that has established this album as the ultimate archetype of goth sensibility. Genre touchstones include "Romeo's Distress," "Spiritual Cramp" and "Mysterium Iniquitatis." This reissue features Rozz Williams's original hand-drawn art and calligraphy, and an additional period photo by Ed Colver, all set against a parchment-like background. We've digitally remastered the audio for both the LP and CD, the latter containing the Deathwish EP as a bonus.
Clearly drawing an influence from punk, they added nervous riffing, dark basslines, furious drums and darkly violent, yet intelligent, lyrics to create a rollercoaster ride of anger and doom. It's fast, furious and breathtaking - and created a storm upon its release. Only Theatre Of Pain's influence should not be underestimated, either. Issued on Frontier in March 1982, it proved to be a pillar of the emerging goth-rock genre. - Record Collector5/5