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Christian Death (USA)




"The founding fathers of American goth rock, Christian Death took a relentlessly confrontational stand against organized religion and conventional morality, with an appetite for provocation that made Marilyn Manson look like Stryper. Regardless of who was leading or performing in the group, Christian Death set themselves up to shock, both in their cover art and their lyrics, which wallowed in blasphemy, morbidity, drug use, and sexual perversity. Their self-consciously controversial tactics set them apart from the British goth scene, having more to do with L.A. punk and heavy metal, and thus the band dubbed its sound "death rock" instead; however, their sensibility was ultimately similar enough that the "goth" designation stuck in the end. Their music also relied on slow, doomy, effects-laden guitar riffs and ambient horror-soundtrack synths, and their theatrical performances were strongly influenced by British glam rockers like David Bowie and Roxy Music, as well as industrial provocateurs Throbbing Gristle. The latter was especially true of the band's first incarnation, led by vocalist and founder Rozz Williams, - When Williams left in 1985, guitarist Valor Kand took over leadership and sent the group in a more intellectual, political, and metal-oriented direction. A subsequent dispute over ownership of the Christian Death name, - lead many of their fans to take sides. - Christian Death had an enormous influence on the American goth scene, shaping the sensibility of countless goth, metal, and even industrial acts that followed. Sadly, the Kand-Williams dispute ended in tragedy in 1998, when a heroin-addicted Williams took his own life.” ~ Steve Hue VH1, ROLLING STONE

There has been a ridiculously huge revolving door of membership in the Los Angeles band known as Christian Death. In the beginning, not long after the local California release of the first album, “Only Theatre of Pain”, the band irrevocably and formally broke up. This left “Rozz”, at home with his overtly religious parents in Pomona California, to contemplate his insufferable boredom, his only relief being found on the pages of his lyrics. After being invited to the record release party for “Pompeii 99”a band already enjoying success in L.A., where Rozz met band leader, singer and guitarist “Valor”. Before long they were inseparable friends and Rozz was invited to join Pompeii 99. Together as Pompeii 99, while rehearsing for a planned European tour, the head of a French record label that Valor had been negotiating with, proposed the notion of renaming his band Christian Death. Neither Valor nor Rozz wanted to entertain this, however, the incentives proposed by the label eventually prevailed and thus Pompeii 99 was reborn as Christian Death . The second Christian Death album, “Catastrophe Ballet”, which resulted from this deal, was recorded in Wales UK, (a place where several future Christian Death albums were also to be born). A month before the release of Catastrophe Ballet, the French label head released a compilation which he called “Deathwish” comprised of previously recorded, unreleased outtakes and single tracks he had licensed.

Recording the second album was followed by the very first Christian Death tour which began in Paris and on to most European countries. The emotional stress of this first tour was hard on Rozz causing him to return to Los Angeles months before the other members that remained in Europe. Upon Valor’s return to Los Angeles, work began immediately on the third album, “Ashes”. Meanwhile, the release of a “live” album called “The Decomposition of Violets” recorded in Hollywood was also released.”

After the release of Ashes the following year, plans were underway for the second European tour when, Rozz, just weeks before the first scheduled date in Italy, announced his plans to quit the band. With no intention of cancelling the tour, Valor returned to lead vocals, the bass player became the guitarist and the guitar tech became the bass player and the tour proceeded as planned but without Rozz.

Now fronted by Valor, they left California and settled in London England which they used as a base to tour Europe relentlessly in the midst of controversy, riots, bomb threats and protests by extremist Christian groups. Many concerts were canceled as a result of direct pressure by influential religious organizations.

From England a further “nine studio albums” and four live albums were released in the territories of England, Germany, Italy, France, Japan and USA with each release in each territory having different art work, configurations and bonus tracks. Among these releases was the critically acclaimed album “Sex and Drugs and Jesus Christ” which depicted Jesus shooting heroin and the single “Church Of No Return” which went to No.12 in the UK charts which landed the band numerous spots on MTV, VH1, Super Channel, BBC and countless other Euro television and radio shows. Meanwhile in the USA, Christian organizations began burning their albums in public and on Christian Television networks.

In 1994 Valor relocated Christian Death to the USA centered around himself and Maitri on bass and vocals. “He returned with 1994's Sexy Death God, which many longtime fans greeted as his best and tightest effort in quite some time.”~ Steve Hue VH1

Once again based in the USA, for the first time, it was possible to do full North American tours, of which there were many, which also included Mexico where the live album “Amen” was recoded at the first ever show in Mexico City for Century Media. Later to be followed by the studio album: “Pornographic Messiah” which was also recorded in Mexico, then mixed in Holland.

“In 2000, they added drummer Will "Was" Sarginson (ex-Cradle of Filth and Blood Divine) and toured Europe alongside Britain's Cradle of Filth, one of the more popular black metal bands of their time. The two groups got along well enough for several Cradle members to guest on Christian Death's 2001 album Born Again Anti Christian, helping it become one of the most metallic records in their catalog.

The following year, female vocalist and bassist Maitri, by then the second most continuous member of Christian Death, issued her black metal-influenced solo album “Lover of Sin” (confusingly labeled on the cover as "Christian Death Presents..."). In 2003, Cradle of Filth guitarist Gian Pyres officially joined Christian Death for their European tour.” ~ Steve Hue VH1

In response to the post 911 period, the album “American Inquisition” recorded on Season Of Mist was the offering. The tours for this album included new territories for the band: Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ecuador. Australia, and New Zealand. Around this time Christian Death released multitrack versions of several songs for the “Rock Band” video game series as well at that time bootleg figurines of both Rozz and Valor began to appear.

In 2012 Maitri released the album second Lover Of Sin album ”Horny Beast” the project featured members of Nile, Morbid Angel and other popular Death Metal Bands.

2013 full tour of The Americas into 2014, with a full back catalogue digital global release. Culminating the year at "Hellfest" supporting "Kiss", "Rob Zombie" and "Limp Biscuit".

With the 2015 Release of the album “The Root of All Evilution”, and the tour for that album which began that Autumn in Europe through into North America in 2016 and again returning to Europe and finishing in Israel.

The song “Between youth”, re-released in 2017 was featured in the Vice TV series on HBO “Balls Deep”.
Later in Autumn 2017, Christian Death completed the longest North America Tour to date. The tour included “Lords of Acid”, Combichrist, En Esch, Night Club.

Touring in 2018, England, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal. USA tour and Cloak and Dagger Festival Los Angeles

Recording for upcoming “New” album “Evil Become You”

2019 upcoming release of the video “Forgiven” recording continues meanwhile upcoming European tour:

CHRISTIAN DEATH 2019 European Tour “Behind The Veil”


Christian Death ist eine Death-Rock-Band aus dem Westen der USA.

Christian Death wurde 1979 in Los Angeles von Roger Allen Painter alias Rozz Williams († 1998) gegründet. Der Bandname war als ironische Anlehnung an Christian Dior gedacht. Die Band löste sich bereits 1981 wieder auf, reformierte sich jedoch im selben Jahr mit den neuen Bandmitgliedern James McGearty, George Belanger und Rikk Agnew. 1984 wurde Valor Kand von Pompeii 99 auf Christian Death aufmerksam, was zur Folge hatte, dass dieser kurz darauf zusammen mit David Glass und Gitane Demone (beide ebenfalls Pompeii 99) bei der Band einstieg.

Wegen bandinterner Streitigkeiten und Problemen mit Williams’ Drogensucht verließ dieser die Band, deren Kopf nun Valor wurde. Valor erwarb die Namensrechte. Die bei Christian Death anfangs präsente düstere Post-Punk-Variante die in Amerika, wie auch einige andere Stile unter dem Namen Death-Rock geläufig war, spielte Christian Death unter Rozz Williams einschließlich bis etwa 1984. Hierbei spielten Christian Death im Gegensatz zu anderen Bands, die ebenfalls dem Death-Rock zugeschrieben wurden, wie z. B. 45 Grave, einen deutlich vom Gothic Rock und Gothic Punk beeinflussten Stil. Später nahmen Christian Death die Anteile des Punk zurück und spielten spätestens ab Ashes und teilweise schon auf Catastrophe Ballet eine Variante des Gothic Rock die auch als Archetyp des American Gothic bezeichnet wurde. Mit der Veröffentlichung von Sex, Drugs and Jesus Christ unter der Leitung von Valor Kand änderte sich der Stil von Christian Death. Die Band nahm verstärkt Elemente des Alternative Metal auf und distanzierte sich zunehmend vom Death Rock. Zudem änderte sich die nach außen kommunizierte Bedeutung des Namens Christian Death: “For sin and sacrifice we must die a christian death.” Fortan war ein großer Teil der Gemeinde der Christian-Death-Fans in zwei Lager geteilt: Rozz- und Valor-Fans. Rozz Williams veröffentlichte nach einer gewissen Zeit auf dem Cleopatra-Label zahlreiche CDs unter dem Namen Christian Death, allerdings mit dem Zusatz „feat. Rozz Williams“. Dazu zählen Neubearbeitungen alter Christian-Death-Songs wie auf The Iron Mask (1992). Invocations (1993) ist eine Sammlung von Live-Aufnahmen mit teilweise sehr schlechtem Sound aus den Jahren 1981 und 1982, einer Aufnahme von David Bowies Dodo aus dem Jahre 1989, als Rozz Williams schon gar nicht mehr Mitglied bei Christian Death war (es handelt sich also höchstwahrscheinlich um die Aufnahme eines seiner Soloprojekte), sowie in klanglicher Hinsicht annehmbaren Demo-Aufnahmen aus den Jahren 1983 und 1985. Der weitaus größte Teil dieser Alben besteht aus älterem Material oder neu aufgenommenen Versionen älterer Songs. Trotzdem oder gerade deshalb ist das Album Invocations unter alten Christian-Death-Fans recht beliebt, da es den Charme aus den Anfangstagen der Band wiederbelebt, insbesondere den außergewöhnlichen, exaltierten Gesangsstil von Rozz Williams, der teilweise gewollt schief die Texte weniger singt, als vielmehr schreiend herausklagt. Es folgten komplett neue Alben unter dem Signet "Christian Death feat. Rozz Williams", wie The Path of Sorrows (1993) oder The Rage of Angels (1994). Auf letzterem befand sich mit Panic in Detroit eine Coverversion eines alten David-Bowie-Songs, die später von verschiedenen Künstlern remixed wurde, was wiederum als Compilation unter dem Titel Death in Detroit ebenfalls auf dem Cleopatra-Label veröffentlicht wurde.

Beachtung fand die Band nicht nur wegen ihrer Musik, sondern auch aufgrund der damit verbundenen – provokativen – politischen und anti-religiösen Äußerungen.