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Monday, November 14, 2011

"This Corrosion"

The Sisters of Mercy - This Corrosion (1987)

This is easily the longest song I've done so far. It's 10:55 on the Album.



Some background: The Sisters of Mercy had an album. Then they broke up, with the bassist and the guitarist leaving to form a new band. There wasn't a drummer, it was a machine. All that was left was the lead singer. After trying to release music under a similar name, he eventually came back to the full name of the band, picked up a new bassist and went into the studio. Most of the album was produced with numerous producers who were let go, or walked, and lead singer Andrew Eldritch did some of the work himself. The exception to this almost revolving door was two songs produced by Jim Steinman of Bat Out of Hell fame. This epic "Wagnerian Rock" song with almost dozens of choir members is one of those songs, and is considered one of The Sisters of Mercy's most enduring classics.

Opening with a huge choir singing. Production notes say that they used 40 members and multi-tracked the tapes so that they could get an even bigger sound when they needed it. Over 30 seconds of just choral sounds wow. There is a lot going on once the main body of the song starts. The bass sounds like it is a synth, but Patricia Morrison is a bass player and credited on the track, so it must be an effect. There is a high sharp guitar sound sitting in the background, it just peeks it's head out a little. There are sweeping strings, and electric keyboards doing dark harpsichord things. Production notes also tell us that there were 6 backup singers as well as the 40 member choir. This depth of instrumentation and voice is why Steinman referred to his preferred style as Wagnerian. Plus any time you say gimmie the ring that much in the opening of the song you are pretty much calling upon Wagner's Nibelung. Or possibly Gollum. When the song reaches its crescendo during a chorus and the choir is going, and the keyboards, and the backup singers... it is a pretty epic song.

Lyrically, it is apparently about how Eldritch felt about his band mates walking away to start a new band, leaving him stranded, angry and lost. The lines about blood and Dream Wars are what give the song the 'dark' part of Darkwave, but it really is a New Wave style pop hit, just darker and heavily pumped up by production, choirs, strings, electric harpsichords and whatnot. The opening section around :40 is a great pop hook. Reminds me of Peter Gabriel. In the end, I think the song is too long, but really good.

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