The Dark Reign of Gothic Rock: In the Reptile House with the Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus and the Cure

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Helter Skelter, 2002 - Music - 288 pages
From Joy Division to Nine Inch Nails and from Siouxsie to Marilyn Manson, gothic rock has endured as the cult of choice for alienated youth. But, during its heyday in the mid-eighties, when The Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus and The Cure dominated the independent scene, it was the underground alternative to the glossy throwaway pop of the day. Dave Thompson traces the roots of this golden era back to Iggy Pop’s The Idiot. Taking in Hammer House of Horror, Dennis Wheatley, and a myriad of other influences, Thompson charts the evolution of a sound through the Doctors of Madness, the despair of Joy Division and the pantomime horror of The Damned and beyond. From the brooding bass line of Bauhaus’s 'Bela Lugosi’s Dead' to the Wagnerian majesty of The Sisters’ 'This Corrosion', from the haunting nihilism of The Cure’s Faith to the full on sonic assault of The Cult’s 'She Sells Sanctuary', this much maligned musical genre produced some of the most energising and enduring music of the era. Starkly lit and draped in fog, blatantly minimalist in an age when ‘bigger’ was generally regarded as ‘better,’ there was little to actually look at, but a great deal to watch, three figures choked in cloaking smoke, the now omnipresent hats and ponchos conjuring images that would not be out of place in a Peckinpah movie.

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About the author (2002)

Dave Thompson is a British freelance journalist based in Seattle. He contributes regularly to a variety of magazines including Mojo and Goldmine. He has also written a number of well-received books including the first biography of Kurt Cobain, Never Fade Away.

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