2 x CD: Fin De Siècle Media FDS16 [2006]

The Erosion of Beauty
Kooa.ibb + iluilu.m Version II
November 1970
You Won't Meet Again
Still Sulking
Funhouse (For Karla)
Habanero High
Theme From Sacred Flesh
Towards the Void
Comedown 5.30 A.M.
The Look In Her Eyes

The Breakoff
Miranda Grey
Blast #1
Slaughterhouse 6
The Drowning
Soaked With the Blood of the Creator
To Whom It May Concern (Acetate Version)

Too late. Always too late. Seems to happen to me all the time. Why I missed out for so long on Steve Pittis's Band of Pain phenomena is a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes himself. I can only put it down to being engrossed in other musical forms at the time. Piss poor as excuses go but there you go. My first encounter with this highly impressive act was on the "Sacred Flesh" soundtrack released by Cold Spring. Such was the impact this cinematic music had on me I immediately went and sought out the film for myself. Consisting of naked nuns... and some blah, blah religious subtext... and, basically, more naked nuns, the film was all I expected or hoped for. Being ever so slightly pervy I tended to fast forward the talking bits just to get to more naked nuns. Sad? Undoubtedly. After that experience I concentrated on trying to find more releases by Band of Pain, which is where I found that I was too late. Most of the CDs I wanted were no longer available. I managed to get "¿Que Amiga?" no problem [read review here]. I even found a copy of "You're Miss Fortune" on eBay. As for everything else. No chance. And I'll not mention the hassles involved trying to get Splintered, Steve and friends previous musical incarnation) material on CD. The search for both acts continues to this day. Help though (no matter how small∑) is on hand thanks to those nice people down, or is that up, there at Sweden's Fin De Siecle Media record label.

"Through The Past Darkly" is manna from heaven for all Band of Pain followers. Featuring 20 tracks over two CDs it features tracks from all five Band of Pain releases. Plus unreleased tracks. Plus singles and outtakes. All of which adds up to one mouth watering experience. Probably the hardest part of this review is trying to describe the music that Steve so eloquently produces. Such is his chameleon like qualities he seems to change from genre togenre within the blinking of an eye. His music can be part dark ambient, part neo classical, part experimental... and quintessentially English. In many ways he reminds me of Contrastate... that other great act who defied convention. The music of Band of Pain works with your emotions. Pulling you up then dragging you down with the melodic,
metamorphic and mystic filled soundscapes and abstractness that abounds. It shines with pristine clarity and yet is as dense as a tar pit on a hot summers day. Name any instrument and the chances are you‚ll find it being played on one of these 20 tracks. Steve's use of sparing samples is an unrequited joy and he even uses his family members to add a feminine heart to some of the pieces. Ethereal and yet chillingly depressing the music covers all avenues as it continually breaks new ground. Impressive music in every conceivable way. The sound sculptures he has created becoming a work of art that deserves to be heard by all discerning music lovers everywhere. As I patiently await the 6th Band of Pain release (and my search continues for the illusive CDs still needed for my collection), "Through The Past Darkly" is a fabulous, nay essential, stop gap. It contains those impossible to find singles, unreleased gems and album tracks all in one incredible package. For Band of Pain novices this should be your first port of call. There's also a great cover painting, from that other cult personality, Billy Childish as an added bonus.

The care and attention that the Fin De Siecle Media record label has taken over this utterly commendable release is a fitting testimony to the music that Steve Pittis has so long graced us with.


[Band of Pain] / [Fin De Siècle Media]

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Other Reviews:

Band Of Pain: [¿Que Amiga?]

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