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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Sisters Of Mercy, The - 1987 Floodland
Sisters Of Mercy, The - 1987 Floodland

ARTIST: Sisters Of Mercy, The
ALBUM: Floodland
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: E-60762 CD
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2006, Rhino, 5101-17580-2 (with bonus tracks)


LINEUP: Andrew Eldritch - vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, guitar, bass, programming * Patricia Morrison - bass, vocals

Additional Musicians: The New York Choral Society

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dominion * 02 Mother Russia * 03 Flood I * 04 Lucretia My Reflection * 05 1959 * 06 This Corrosion * 07 Flood II * 08 Driven Like The Snow * 09 Never Land (A Fragment)

Gothic rock conjures up all sorts of macabre images verging on the ridiculous and in fact next to black metal and corpse paint silliness, I can't think of a genre that requires more work to look the part than the brooding, mascara wearing, neo-classical Victorian vampire wannabes that haunt the scene. Now don't misunderstand me while I don't hang out in graveyards reading Poe and romanticizing the shrouds of the dead, I've enjoyed a lot of music that falls under the Goth banner over the years including Killing Joke, Dead Can Dance, the early Cure albums as well as the ever popular Siouxsie & the Banshees and Bauhaus, in particular Peter Murphy's always uncompromising solo output. Last but not least is a band who took their name from a very un-Goth but charming Leonard Cohen tune. The Sisters of Mercy released three albums and suffered a somewhat convoluted history beginning with their second album 'Floodland'.

The Songs
Following extensive and rather messy legal wrangling between group leader Andrew Eldritch and former band members who later formed The Mission (remember their very good 1986 debut 'God's Own Medicine'?); Eldritch decided to go it alone with former Gun Club and easy on the eyes bassist Patricia Morrison. Looking to create something unique and out of the box, the duo briefly moved to New York, seeking out the master of pomp and bombast Jim Steinman to partially produce what is one of the most accessible and creative Goth albums ever released. Truth be told, I never cared for Steinman's collaborations with Meatloaf which I thought were way too cheesy although I did like his work on the Bonnie Tyler album 'Faster Than The Speed Of Night', yet even that excellent album doesn't hold up to the depth and artistry of the songs that bare his guiding hand on 'Floodland'. The Steinman produced 'Dominion' and 'Mother Russia' are tied together seamlessly and epic in scope. Yes, Eldritch has that typically Goth voice, deep in tone and a cross between Bela Lugosi and David Bowie but on these two tracks, the effect is powerful and driven with Morrison's counterpoint vocals, massed choirs and driving beat, it doesn't get much better than this. 'Flood I' is claustrophobically creepy and while I can't quite figure out the subject matter for 'Lucretia My Reflection', there's a ghost story in there somewhere.. I think. The other Steinman produced track 'This Corrosion' is the single that broke it all open for the band. Opening with heavenly voices from the New York Choral Society, when it comes right down to it this is a dance track with progressive rock proportions and while the haunting 'Driven Like The Snow' and 'Never Land' are terrifically atmospheric and dark, it's the Steinman related pieces that are at the core of the albums success.

In Summary
Despite the overwhelming popularity of 'This Corrosion', Eldritch frustratingly refused to tour in support of 'Floodland' and the 1990 follow-up 'Vision Thing' didn't fair nearly as well, certainly not helped by a misguided pairing with controversial rappers Public Enemy for an ill-fated U.S. run. Since then there have been various Sisters of Mercy line-ups over the years and while a potential fourth album has long been bandied about, it appears 'Floodland' will remain the band's commercial peak and a high watermark for Goth music in general.

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#1 | englandashes on November 29 2015 17:42:59
Great addition Eric, heard this alot growing up, as my brother was into these guys and it rubbed off on me, plus Killing Joke who released some great melodic songs on a couple of their albums around this time.
#2 | reyno-roxx on November 29 2015 18:24:13
Interesting review, Eric! My brother was the biggest Goth fan in my family, but I've been a Siouxsie fan for many years and have spent the last year catching up on The Cure back catalogue. Better late than never, I guess!
#3 | Eric on November 29 2015 19:38:00
Thanks. There's so much good stuff released in the 80's in this style. I think Chris is referring to Killing Joke's 'Night Time' and 'Brighter Than a Thousand Suns' which could both fit here. The Cure- everything up to 'Pornography' and then 1989's magnificent 'Disintegration'. Incredible album.
#4 | englandashes on November 29 2015 21:12:10
Yep, spot on with those albums Eric, also only recently picked up the odd Echo and the bunnyman albums, must investigate The Cure, always aware of the singles, Although i used to love when the Mary White experience would do THe Cure versions of puff the magic dragon. And happy birthday.
#5 | Nick C on November 30 2015 20:40:19
I flirted with goth, like the (Wayne) hussey I am, especially liked the Sisters. This album has stood the test of time much better than Vision Thing I feel which at the time it came out I thought was awesome, less so now - I played it a month back but it felt a bit 'thin' next to this.
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