It’s another album from the Eighties in fact. Wayne Hussey’s thirty-year Goth Rock campaign has scored an astonishing new victory with their latest album, which the lead singer openly declares is the natural evolution from First and Last and Always to God’s Own Medicine.
There’s a link there for sure, mixing the best elements of the cavernous, cathedral-like Sisters sound with Hussey’s trademark guitar shimmer and love-struck lyrical imagery. Let us descend with Goth’s fallen (or at least, regularly falling-over) second son into the darkest depths of his past.
The title track delivers rhythmic pounding bass, tribal drums echoing into the void, and that trademark scintillating guitar work. It’s classic Mission, redefining Eighties Goth! Oh, but “Dying a death every time I think of you” – groan!
It’s a refreshing counter however when ethereal and haunting female vocals join in. Of course, Hussey’s singing of lost and lethal love is familiar territory. The tone has convincingly been set for this foggy flashback.
Met-Amor-Phosis, the single that first hinted at this album’s sound, is an up-tempo track destined for dancefloor success. It’s brilliantly paced, invites you to chant along with its catchy vocals and is surmounted by a soaring sound that truly energises the listener. A new ‘Tower of Strength’? The fans will decide…
Now we come to an immediate favourite. Within the Deepest Darkness (Fearful) is an out-and-out spooky, spine-tingling tune. Nerve-jangling guitar riffs weave a dangerous dance with the heavy sound of unexpected footsteps in the night. You’re left fearful of it all, and yet it’s a beautiful, beguiling and deadly track. A hidden gem. See if you can spot the two surprise guest singers who join Hussey to complete a dark trifecta of vocal talent!
We’re indulging even the worst excesses of prime Mission material. Wayne Can’t See The Ocean For The Rain, and is joined again by his spectral, choral female companion in a musing and brooding love-lost song that ends with the sound of falling water. All these Goth cliches, lost, like eyeliner in the rain. Time to pout!
Moving through the album like a book, Tyranny of Secrets is the chapter with the first great battle. It’s the soundtrack to a great little video charged with grimly familiar images of worldwide terror, poverty, war and death.
Wayne seizes the opportunity to go all Jaz Coleman, right down to the hoarse rasp that the usually syrup-voiced crooner actually excels at! It’s jam packed with those twisting guitar riffs that the Mission have utterly perfected, and I can see this dominating dancefloors as well. A shining high point for me.
But you can’t have the high without the low. Wandering through the wasteland of his mind, nod wink, Wayne strolls into oddly Divine Comedy territory at times with his weirdly jaunty chorus to Never’s Longer than Forever. The rest of the time, this track feels a little slow – it doesn’t compare to exciting new tracks like Met-Amor-Phosis, or brooding gargoyles of pure Gawth like Within the Deepest Darkness. What we could have is a hit with the faithful, drunkenly accompanying from the front row – but it’s unlikely to engage a newcomer.
Eastern promise mingles with Western decadence in “Bullets and Bayonets”, bringing up images of snow falling on revolutionary Moscow, and grim Soviet shadows falling across young love. It’s a sinuous, enticing sound, with a hypnotic beat, and sly lyrics rippling along. “When the red flag was raised, it was soaked in blood” – not a Corbyn supporter then, Wayne?
This is a hidden gem, and will either delight or leave you as cold as a Siberian winter.
It’s after the impact now, we’re through the fall and we’re firmly in 1985. Phantom Pain could easily be a demo for Neverland. But that isn’t a criticism, it’s the perfect track to finish on, and you can imagine Wayne leaning back from his guitar with a drained expression. Or, more apt to the Mission, reclining post-coital with a cigarette!
It’s the middle of the night, and it’s no surprise his thoughts should wander back to fraught relationships, sound-tracked by the old arch-enemy. Sparse where it should be, other times discordant with a nod to the obtuseness of Nick Cave, it’s the deepest acknowledgement yet of The Mission’s origins in the foetid treachery of the reptile house.
For all that, the Mission emerged and have continued to excel as a superb, exciting, hilarious and committed live band that have earned their legions of loyal fans. They will cherish this memory-inducing album of brand new, old familiar classics.
Another Fall From Grace, the latest album from The Mission, will be available on September 30th. It will be available on CD, download and 180 gram vinyl plus ltd edition DELUXE double CD and DVD.
The deluxe version contains full album on CD, an instrumental version of the album with bonus remix track ‘Met-Amor-Phosis’ and a 93 minute DVD featuring never before seen footage from 1987 of The Mission performing at Elland Road, Leeds, supporting U2, Aston Villa Leisure Centre as The Metal Gurus and The Royal Court in Liverpool for the Hillsborough benefit gig, both from 1989, producer Tim Palmer’s home footage of the recording of ‘Carved in Sand’/ ’Butterfly on a Wheel’ video, and the promo video for new single Met-Amor-Phosis.
The band are also embarking on a galaxy-spanning tour immediately after the album is released, with tickets still available for some dates.
Check back with The Blogging Goth then for coverage of their live performance, the whole line-up and the entirety of the madness that is WGW!