Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Floorfiller: The Sisters Of Mercy, 'Dominion/ Mother Russia'

After achieving early underground fame in UK, the band reached their commercial
peak in the mid eighties lead by singer and songwriter Andrew Eldritch and a drum machine he christened Doktor Avalanche, who were the only points of continuity in the ever changing line-up.

Despite Eldritch's rather insistent objections to the designation “goth”, their second album Floodland has been lauded as a classic album of the genre, what with Eldritch's emaciated vampire vibe and the theatrically gloomy nature of the music. The album marked a change of direction from guitar-oriented rock towards synthesizer-based soundscapes, a obvious attempt at something more commercial.

Jim Steinman of ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ fame, took on duties behind the desk leading rather inevitably to massed ranks of choirs, a 40-piece orchestra and a production so large it makes the term bombastic redundant. The driving dance-floor hit "Dominion/ Mother Russia", with its thudding bassline and blatant proto-house beat courtesy of Doktor Avalanche, is representative of the new appealing sound.

Eldritch hopes that the song is as epic in scope as ‘War And Peace’ and almost succeeds in giving the impression of him standing in the Siberian tundra belting out the chorus while being buffeted by icy gales. Lyrically we get such diverse tastes as Shelley's ‘Ozymandias’ and Dylan’s ‘Stuck inside of Memphis with the Mobile Blues’ which shows you where we are, bordering in that grey area between the ridiculous and the ridiculously sublime. Thankfully it manages to achieve the latter…..for the most part.

Where to find: Floodland (1987)

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