Friday, 19th January 2018. 12:26:31pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Gothic Christian Death- The Iron Mask


  Artist: Christian Death
CD Title: The Iron Mask
Label: Cleopatra
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 7/25/03

After a successful reunion tour featuring the original members of Christian Death, Cleopatra Records decided to cash in by having Rozz Williams and Eva O go into the studio to re-record a collection of early Christian Death material as well as a new single. After recording, Rozz and Eva left to tour under Shadow Project, their current band at the time, leaving mixing and production in the hands of Cleopatra. After returning from the tour, they found the final CD to be eerily similar to the very rough mixes they had before they left, prompting even Rozz to call this album a mistake.

In essence, this CD is Shadow Project performing Christian Death songs from Only Theatre of Pain, Catastrophe Ballet, and Ashes. These are pale reflections of the originals. The performances are very amateurish, with roughly played bass, sloppy guitar that often seems to wander aimlessly through the songs, often-off-rhythm keyboards, and poor drum timing... This could work for it in a grunge sort of way, but instead the roughly-mixed and performed song versions here are just flat and lifeless carcasses of their former selves, almost sounding more like rough working demos than final songs. All of the atmosphere and edge of the originals has been sucked out. In fact, being a huge fan of those early albums, I find it rather difficult to stomach most of this CD.

Rozz's doubled vocals, which were quite effective on his work with Shadow Project and, to a lesser extent, the Christian Death albums that would come after this also just seem out of place here. Rather than accentuating the lyrical content and mood of the songs, they often just seem grating and only serve to add to the flawed sound of this collection.

The album also contains 2 versions of a new single, "Skeleton Kiss", which is decent but not exactly noteworthy (other than being the first new Rozz track officially released under Christian Death in many years).. The disc is finally topped off with an okay recording of a decent live cover of Gary Numan's "Down In The Park". Again, it's nice but not exactly noteworthy.

The bottom line is that this is, in my opinion (being a fan of both early Christian Death and Shadow Project), possibly the worst thing Rozz has ever released. If you're a hardcore Rozz fan, well, you probably already own this or compulsively ordered it before reading my review. If you're a newcomer to the band, do yourself a favor and pick up the brilliant original albums (Only Theatre of Pain, Catastrophe Ballet, and Ashes) and steer clear of this collection of mediocre recordings..


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