Without this record goth as we know it would not exist. Even if that statement turns you off this record is essential. Featuring Rikk Agnew of the Adolescents and DI, he adds a punk rawness to the dark lyrics and general spookiness.
“In 1982, Los Angeles-based deathrock band Christian Death released their groundbreaking debut record, "Only Theatre of Pain". With its innovative Goth/Punk sound, dark atmosphere, pessimistic lyrics, and Rozz Williams' distressed vocal style, the record would go on to be called the definitive deathrock album.
The album's style is a unique combination of late 70s Goth and first wave Punk. The variety is extensive; the songs vary between extremely dark, slow Gothic rock to more conventional punk, sometimes within the songs themselves. With each and every song there is a difference, unlike the vast majority of similar albums of the era. It keeps it from being anythingnear repetitive and boring.
The overall atmosphere of the album is dark, murky, gloomy, and distressed. For most of the album, the bass is the dominant instrument and carrier of melody, with the guitar consisting of everything from single string to power chords to compliment the sound. The recording style further increases its darkness with heavy echo, extreme depth, thick bass, and quietness. Probably the greatest aspect of the record is Rozz Williams' vocal performance. It is the most innovative and perfect style I have ever heard for a Gothic record. They consist entirely of distressed melodic talking. His voice and style go beyond words. Everythingperfectly compliments one another to create a masterpiece record.”