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6 Degrees Entertainment

Book Reviews
Christian Death: Only Theatre of Pain
By: Edward Colver - Cult Epics, $69.95

Description: Cult Epics presents Christian Death: Only Theatre of Pain Hardcover Book.

Cult Epics will be releasing this INCREDIBLE behemoth of a photography book January 17th, 2022, and it features legendary punk-rock photographer Edward Colver photographs of Christian Death from 1981-1982 during the incarnation of the album Only Theatre of Pain.

Verdict: WOW! You know when you order a book, thinking that it is just that, a book, and that you will read it, love it, and maybe even show people when they come visit, but it actually arrives as an oh-so much more larger than life (er, quite literally, as it is the size of a small end table top!) glossy, heavy, and simply magnificent beast that you know you will take to your grave, well, ... welcome to Christian Death: Only Theatre of Pain!

As for the fabric, shall we say, of what lies between these 216 simply stunning, and oh-so artfully created and lushly ornate, and heartfeltly cultivated pages, allow me to flashback a wee bit for you.

Christian Death is an American deathrock band formed in Los Angeles County, California, in 1979 by Rozz Williams. Williams was eventually joined by guitarist Rikk Agnew of the band Adolescents, with James McGearty on bass guitar and George Belanger on drums.

Indeed, this lineup was responsible for producing the band’s best-known work, their 1982 debut album Only Theatre of Pain, which was highly influential in the development of the style of music known as death rock as well as the American gothic scene.

A trendsetting album in its merging of a creepy gothic sensibility and heavy metal, not to mention its stridently controversial (yet subtly tongue-in-cheek) assaults on the Christian religion and conventional morality, there is no doubt in anyone’s minds that Only Theatre of Pain influenced the countless goth, death, and black metal bands that heard it thereafter.

While lyrics about Lucifer, sodomy, necrophilia, and church hypocrisy (like Burnt Offerings and Cavity: First Communion) may seem commonplace now, they were most definitely not so back then!

But it is the gloom-and-doom atmosphere that penetrated throughout the creepy dungeon feel of the music that makes the greater impression and soon thereafter put Christian Death on the map as forerunners in their genre.

During this time legendary L.A. punk rock photographer Edward Colver befriended the band and shot Christian Death at a dozen of the band’s concerts in the Los Angeles area during a six-month period in 1981 and 1982, as well as photographing Rozz at his family home with the band which was later used for the back cover of Only Theatre of Pain, and a session of iconic images at a cemetery in Pomona.

Cult Epics founder and friend of Rozz Williams, Nico B has since edited an oversized (12×12”) hardcover book of Ed’s photos capturing those rare and never-before-seen moments, as well as the story of early Christian Death as told by Edward Colver, surviving band members and others through new, exclusive interviews.

Predominantly featuring black and white photographs, the odd color ones toward the back along with some sepia-toned lyric sheets and notes included also, this hardcover book runs approx. 208 pages, contains over 300 images and text, and, as noted, at 12×12 inches in size is something to truly behold, of that you have my word!

In fact, don’t take just my word for it, for as Edward Colver himself adds, “Finally, fans of the real Christian Death will know how closely I worked with them and get to see a lot of the photographs that I shot during that time.”

There are very few books of this genre, this musical ilk out there that can match the supremely crafted elegance of this glossy bad boy (if any) and for that alone the project gets a might big two thumbs up from this very happy journo!

About the Author: Edward Colver is an American photographer, best known for his early punk rock photographs. Colver not only created a visual document of the birth of the hardcore punk in suburban Southern California from late 1978 to mid-1984, but also he greatly helped in defining the photography style and graphic identity of the American hardcore punk movement.

He was in the right place at the right time, his early work is an authentic self-portrait of the Southern California hardcore punk scene in its golden years.

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