Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Sisters of Mercy - First and Last and Always

8/10
This is the only Sisters album which featured guitarist Wayne Hussey, who left to form The Mission along with bassist Craig Adams. Apparently, Andrew Eldritch had very little involvement with writing the music on this album, with most of his contributions being lyrical in nature. As a result, it’s not surprising that this is the only Sisters album that sounds like what little of The Mission that I’ve heard.
This is a pretty guitar-heavy album, with more of an acoustic sound than any other Sisters release. Synthesizers are less prominent, but are used well in the tracks that do feature them, such as “Possession” and “Some Kind of Stranger.” And thankfully, Doktor Avalanche’s sound is considerably less rudimentary than on any of the “Some Girls” tracks, although you’d never mistake it for actual drums.
This album reminds me more than a little of Slayer’s Reign in Blood in that I feel that the best songs are the ones which open and close the album. “Black Planet” is a wonderful four minutes of a dark acid trip, and “Some Kind of Stranger” is the dreariest love song you’ll ever hear. That said, the rest of the album isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination- it’s just that it’s hard for the other songs to stand out next to those two.
After this album was recorded, a funny thing happened. All the members of the band except Andrew Eldritch quit, citing personality problems with him, leaving him as the only remaining member. Was the band dead?

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