Wednesday 28 October 2015

Review: Christian Death – 'The Root Of All Evilution'

'The Root Of All Evilution'

It is undeniable that Christian Death made a major mark on the international gothic and death rock scenes. Whether it was under the leadership of Rozz Williams or Valor Kand, both line-ups produced some iconic records such as 'Only Theatre Of Pain', 'Ashes', and 'Sex, And Drugs, And Jesus Christ' to name only a few. Valor Kand successfully held fast with the band giving it a more metal overhaul in the 90s that worked well over a few albums. Yet, since the turn of the millennium that band has existed mainly as a touring band with only two albums released in that time, 2007's lacklustre 'American Inquisition' and this years new offering 'The Root Of All Evilution'.

The latest album was the subject of a successful crowdfunding campaign which shows that the band still has a core of fans ready and eager to hear new material. But does it live up to their most influential albums?

The opening track finds the and in almost prog rock with an extended spoken intro that sets up the apocalyptic conceptual arc of the album before breaking into a bout of thin gothic rock. Its a poor start, but thankfully the eastern themed 'This Cross' with its exotic instrumentation and tribal drumming brings things into focus in classic Christian Death fashion.

'Tar Black Liquid' is another track that has that classic Christian Death feel that fans will undoubtedly be craving – Maitri's vocals sound as sumptuous as ever while the straightforward gothic/death rock construction could sit next to any of the band's 80's/90's output with ease. Tracks such as 'Fema Coffins', 'Illuminazi', 'Forgiven' and 'Deliver Us' follow suit with that classic sound keeping the focus on the band's fundamentals.

The electronic elements at work on 'We Have Become' are an unexpected, but not unwelcome change of pace that makes for a great stand-out track. The closing track 'Secrets Down Below' also makes subtle use of this to give an extra element to another fine cut.

The production / mix isn't always great, but Christian death have only two modes; opulent or stripped back, and when they embrace these fully everything else just seems to click into place.

The opener may have been a bit shaky, and the visual elements may be looking a little outdated and cliché these days. But below all of that is a pretty good album that is a more satisfying listen that the band's last outing, and it could even be touted as a return to form. It may not reach the heights of their classic/infamous material, but 'The Root Of All Evilution' proves that Christian Death are still relevant and still have a place in 2015. 

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