Review Summary: The Sisters of Mercy sophomore effort finds a band completely changed but still in top form.
As with every decade, the ‘80s were an era of musical transformations. Genres such as hard rock and punk slowly declined and were replaced by others including post-punk and gothic rock. Gothic rock was dominated by The Cure, Bauhaus and Joy Division among others that influenced one of the most unique bands of the decade; The Sisters of Mercy.
Led by their iconic vocalist Andrew Eldrich, the Sisters of Mercy released their debut in 1985. First and Last and Always
, even though hindered by poor production, left its imprint on gothic rock but at the same time left a band in shambles. Andrew Eldrich parted from the rest of the members and after legal battles with his former bandmates recruited bassist Patricia Morrison and started working on The Sisters of Mercy sophomore effort.
was released in 1987 and marked only a slight difference in the band’s sound. To begin with, on this album The Sisters of Mercy consist of two members less. Wayne Hussey and Gary Marx left the band leaving all guitar duties on this album to Andrew Eldrich. To make a long story short, Floodland
is basically an Eldrich solo album under The Sisters’ moniker whereas First and Last and Always
featured contributions by all members but mostly Wayne Hussey and Gary Marx. What’s more, Floodland
was recorded with heavy use of sequencers while First and Last and Always
featured a more traditional approach. Nevertheless, the two albums share a lot of similarities instrumentally.
The atmosphere is doomy, gloomy and dominated by Eldrich’s characteristic deep baritone voice that communicates despair like only a handful of vocalists. The music can be characterized as a mix of gothic rock and dark wave and those of you who are familiar with Fields of the Nephilim, The Cure and Bauhaus will find various similarities. The drums are handled again by Doktor Avalanche who is none other than The Sisters of Mercy drum machine handled by Andrew Eldrich. However, the difference between Floodland
and First and Last and Always
lies on lyrics. On this album, Eldrich deals with issues such as personal relationships, society and imperialism. As far as standout tracks are concerned, “Lucretia, My Reflection” is not only the best track of the album but one of the best in The Sisters of Mercy catalogue. “Dominion”, “1959”, “This Corrosion” and “Flood II” are also exceptional songs.
may not be as dark, influential or focused as the band’s debut but is still an excellent album with an amazing vocal performance by Andrew Eldrich. Fans of The Cure, Bauhaus or even ‘90s gothic metal will definitely find various elements they enjoy so make sure you give this album a chance.