December 6, 2009

Devil Doll - The Girl Who Was... Death (1989)

As far as rock bands go, Devil Doll is one of those bizarre musical experiments that succeed in spite of the musicians' best attempts to destroy all evidence of their own existence. An Italian-Slovenian project, the band formed in 1987 with the mysterious "Mr. Doctor" at the helm signing most of the recorded music before burning whatever recordings he could get his hands on. The band has gained a strong cult following for its ultra-theatrical mix of gothic rock, classical and slavonic folk music, and of course, the antics of Mr. Doctor.

The Girl Who Was... Death is the first Devil Doll album that fans could actually get copies of. The first edition of the album was pressed into 500 copies, but only 150 were handed out after a live performance while the remaining 350 LPs were burned by Mr. Doctor. To make things weirder, each album handed out had a unique inlay written by Mr. Doctor personally, and as the story goes, some of these inlays were written in his own blood. To top it all, there's the cover: if the photo of Frankenstein's Bride screaming her lungs at you doesn't get your attention, you're not human, period.

The Girl Who Was... Death is based on the subversive TV series called The Prisoner about a British former secret agent who is held prisoner in a mysterious seaside village where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. If you haven't seen the show, don't worry: the album is self-sufficient through and through. As the single track - clocking at 66 minutes and 6 seconds - develops its narrative by way of violins, metal guitars and eerie vocals, you get a sense of dark atmosphere that fully complements the band's back story, delivering pure horror at one turn and hilarious parody at the next. For all his weirdness, Mr. Doctor's "old witch" shtick actually works here, full of menace and melancholy as it rages all the way through. In short, the perfect album to listen to at night as you question the meaning of everything and nothing.

>>> Download The Girl Who Was... Death (and while you're at it, why not the whole of Devil Doll's discography?)

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