Friday, May 12, 2006

Stigmata Martyr (1980) – Bauhaus

David J’s writhing bass menacingly makes a chromatic descent into dark catacombs of unrest; Kevin Haskins’ hi-hat scurries alongside a metronomic kick drum to fortify his brother’s sepulchral incursion; Daniel Ash’s guitar grates and abrades in an attempt to extricate itself from the bowels of angst. Later to reconvene in psychedelia as Love and Rockets, on this night the trio haunt the corridors of a mausoleum as Bauhaus, ushered by the ululations of one Peter Murphy. In the grip of religious fanaticism and an onerous penitence, a zealot interprets the biblical phrase “take up the cross” a bit too literally. Aided by his minions, he undertakes to recreate the Crucifixion, incurring stigmata in a spasm of “ecstasy, lying cross-chequed in agony”—an undertaking that denotes the ritualistic penance of Catholicism that would drive a guilt-ridden megalomaniac to perform such an act in an attempt to atone for his sins and, at the same time, achieve immortality in heaven and on earth, as he rapturously anticipates rewards in the afterlife. Murphy ominously recites the holy rosary in Latin, which simultaneously slithers in reverse. The incantation culminates in screams of anguished delirium as his life expires, whilst a corpse scrapes the door of a crypt—a spirit attempting to reincarnate. Perhaps it means to convey that his abject suffering to achieve martyrdom was futile, failing to inspire men to speak of him in reverent tones.

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