Sisters of Mercy Box Set

Released by Rhino Records UK, ‘Merciful Release’ is a box set of the Sisters of Mercy’s three releases for Warner Brothers Records, plus a bunch of bonus tracks. Each CD is a digipack, which includes a booklet with detailed liner notes. A much better presentation than the recent Jesus and Mary Chain reissues. For those note in the know, the Sisters of Mercy were the premiere Goth rock band. The group was formed in 1980 in Leeds, England by vocalist Andrew Eldritch and within a few years the original lineup gained quite a buzz on the indie scene with their mesmerizing dark yet melodic rock sound, which was inspired quite a bit by The Stooges — at times Eldritch sounds a lot like Iggy Pop. After releasing five excellent EPs, which are compiled on the ‘Some Girls Wander By Mistake’ CD, the group signed to Warner and released their astounding debut proper ‘First and Last and Always.’ Remastered for the box set, this album sounds even more potent than it did when I first heard it back in 1985. Tracks like “Black Planet,” “Nine While Nine,” and “Walk Away” define the goth rock sound. Sadly after the album was released guitarist Wayne Hussey and bassist Craig Adams would leave to form the more commercial sounding Mission U.K. who ended up having great success in England for many years. Eldritch was forced to start all over again and 1987’s masterful ‘Floodland’ could almost be described as a solo effort, though bass player Patricia Morrison (ex Gun Club) does contribute quite a bit. More bombastic than ‘First and Last and Always,’ ‘Floodland’ contains three epic dance rock gems, “Dominion/Mother Russia,” “Lucretia,” and “This Corrosion” that are probably the group’s best known recordings. As with ‘First and Last and Always,’ the remastered recording of ‘Floodland’ sounds phenomenal. The Sisters of Mercy’s third album ‘Vision Thing’ is merely good in comparison. Much more conventional sounding than anything released previous, a good benchmark would be Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘Automatic.’ While Eldritch still plays live shows with different lineups, Sisters of Mercy haven’t released anything since 1991. That said I still think that a new Sisters of Mercy album will see the light of day before the next Guns ‘n’ Roses or My Bloody Valentine!

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