The Bela Ses­sions EP leaV­ing In The Flat Field beg­garS arKiVe Mur­phy, Ash, Hask­ins and J ca­su­ally de­fine goth.

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff Reissues - ian Fort­nam

When Bauhaus ar­rived, ap­par­ently fully formed, into the nascent

80s Lon­don club scene, the post-punk tribe were in des­per­ate need of a new kind of kick. The Ants crew’s hith­erto S&M-favour­ing fetish Grup­pen­fuhrer was al­ready eye­ing up an an­o­dyne white stripe, and all other op­tions seemed to in­volve ei­ther wear­ing a lace doily or Oi-ing for Eng­land.

And then, straight outta Northamp­ton, per­am­bu­lated an ex­quis­ite corpse with a com­mand­ing vo­cal tim­bre who stalked the stage, lips drawn back over ca­nine teeth, and Dou­ble Dared you to join him in the tomb. They’d re­leased a nine-minute 12-inch in ‘79 that owned the indie chart for months. Bela Lu­gosi’s Dead

– dev­il­ishly sim­ple, stylis­ti­cally per­fect – de­fined the band, but re­view­ing the en­tire five-song The Bela Ses­sions EP that sired it

(6/10), it was a happy ac­ci­dent. The rest of the ma­te­rial finds a band fum­bling for di­rec­tion, even touch­ing on ska, be­fore an eerie de­lay ap­peared to in­vent their sound for them.

So like Sab­bath be­fore them, the band em­braced the dark side, Lu­gosi-ed their image and ba­si­cally re-imag­ined metal by squeez­ing it through a punk­in­formed Bowie fil­ter. In his day, Peter Mur­phy was the world’s great­est front­man, and their live set-du­pli­cat­ing In The Flat Field

(9/10) min­i­mal­ist de­but cap­tures his magic per­fectly. Stig­mata Mar­tyr ca­su­ally and un­in­ten­tion­ally de­fines goth as a ‘crux­i­fix­a­tion ec­stacy’, and the al­bum (now re­mas­tered on vinyl along­side the di­min­ish­ing re­turns of the band’s sub­se­quent out­put) re­mains an ut­terly es­sen­tial dark de­light.

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