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Death In June - Abandon Tracks

Abandon Tracks is a collection of rarities, remixes and original unreleased recordings from the canon of Death In June that brings a full stop to a certain period of Death In June's history. A number of tracks herein are re-recordings / remixes from the period when Death In June collaborated heavily with Christ 93 / David Tibet. An obvious criticism levelled at Abandon Tracks is that it smacks of revisionism, with a number of tracks from Brown Book and The Wall of Sacrifice being re-recorded replacing the voice of Tibet and the late John Balance with Douglas's honeyed monotone vocal. As a longtime fan of the work of Death In June it's interesting to hear these versions but this period was particularly special because of the collaborations. That said, other collaborators such as Nikolas Schrek have had their voices erased too and Tibet's voice is still apparent on 'My Black Diary' from Nature & Organisation's sublime Beauty Reaps The Blood of Solitude. On the other hand wasn't much of Douglas P.'s guitarwork shorn from Current 93's re-recorded Crooked Crosses for the Nodding God? Tit-for-tat.

Abandon Tracks features two of Douglas P.'s particularly potent and successful hexes. The first is the melodic, poetic and vitriolic 'The Only Good Neighbour' with its demonic harmonies, and the scathing soundpiece of 'We Said Destroy', wordplay involving one of Death In June's most enduring songs and the initials of Death In June's former and now defunct distributor. The ultra-rare and rather expensive tour CD single 'Passion! Power! Purge!' gets a welcome airing, and the formidable 'Unconditional Armistice' gets the wider exposure it truly deserves. The rolling drums, shimmering guitar line, glockenspiel melody and bells places this firmly outside of the typical Death In June sound. The beautiful production on this with Douglas's soft song-speak approach boasting the most misanthropic lyric ever penned by Douglas P. is like listening to a late period Phil Spector production. In fact the sentiments herein make this Douglas P.'s hate-filled riposte to John Lennon's 'Imagine'.

Of the re-recordings we have from Brown Book the Morricone inspired 'Burn Again' and 'Punishment Initiation' with its looped keyboard, acoustic guitar and castanets. Douglas P.'s pensive vocal on 'In Sacrilege' adds a new slant to this track from The Wall of Sacrifice. 'Europa Rising' despite featuring a nice sixties keyboard sound remains lacklustre, but '13 Years of Carrion' remains one of Death In June's finer moments and one I never tire of hearing. A new trumpet score, and new keyboards adds some fresh detail to an already beautiful song. Abandon Tracks closes with a remixed / re-recorded 'Europa: The Gates of Heaven and Hell' combining elements of 'We Are The Lust' with 'Europa: The Gates of Heaven' from the 'To Drown A Rose' EP.

Elsewhere we have the soundpieces 'My Black Diaries', and 'Death of A Man' featuring the twinned voices of Mishima and Genet, two men whose lives have had an astounding impact on the work of Death In June, and who are both quoted in the accompanying booklet. 'Rocking Horse Night' appears in its original nascent form, noteworthy for the singular voice on the chorus, but still conjures up childhood nightmares. The Der Blutharsch inspired 'Many Enemies Bring Much Honour' covers familiar territory and finally after almost assuming mythic proportions we finally get to hear something from the shelved The Concrete Fountain. Okay it's a sombre and melancholic instrumental but its nice to at least have a peek of what could have been.

Abandon Tracks is a veritable collection that should have something for the accustomed Death In June listener and novice alike. At one point this was going to be a double CD set until Douglas P. had a rethink; let's hope that those tracks culled from this set get an airing in some suitable form at some point. Abandon Tracks is available on CD and as a limited double vinyl set. For more information go to