London’s Cadiz Music label in conjunction with Merciful Release has announced that a re-mastered version of the “Gift” album by The Sisterhood, the musical project formed by Andrew Eldritch after the demise of The Sisters of Mercy, will be re-issued on the 26th of May 2023. Originally put out on Eldritch’s own Merciful Release label in 1986, the album will now be available digitally, on CD, cassette and limited clear vinyl and features five tracks including the extended mix of the band’s first single ‘Giving Ground’.
- ‘Giving Ground’
- ‘Finland Red, Egypt White’
- ‘Rain From Heaven’
In 1985, after the release of the first Sisters of Mercy album “First and Last and Always,” the band prepared for a follow-up. Singer Andrew Eldritch saw it as an opportunity for a change of direction, wanting to explore recording songs without typical rock structures and guitars. However, the band’s musical differences grew, ultimately leading to guitarist Wayne Hussey and bassist Craig Adams leaving the band.
The pair had expressed their intentions to form a new band and use the name “The Sisterhood.” In an attempt to prevent them from capitalizing on The Sisters of Mercy’s success, Eldritch swiftly formed his own band under the same name, effectively blocking Hussey and Adams from using it.
The formation of The Sisterhood caused a rift among the members of The Sisters of Mercy, ultimately leading to the departure of Hussey and Adams. They went on to form the successful gothic rock band The Mission. The controversy surrounding The Sisterhood’s formation led to speculation that the project was an act of revenge by Eldritch. However, Eldritch has downplayed these claims, stating that The Sisterhood was a creative response to the situation and a way to protect the legacy of The Sisters of Mercy.
Gift: The Sisterhood’s Only Album
The Sisterhood’s sound was a departure from the typical gothic rock sound of The Sisters of Mercy, incorporating electronic elements and a more experimental approach. Next to Eldritch the band’s lineup included Alan Vega (Suicide), Lucas Fox (Motorhead), Patricia Morrison (Sisters Of Mercy), James Ray (Gangwar) and Doktor Avalanche (the Sisters’ drum machine).
“Gift,” The Sisterhood’s sole album, was released in 1986. The album features a mix of gothic rock, electronic, and experimental music, with lyrics that touch on themes of religion, love, and betrayal. The album was not a commercial success and received mixed reviews from critics. However, it has since gained a cult following among fans of The Sisters of Mercy and the gothic rock genre. Some notable tracks from “Gift” include “Giving Ground,” “Dance on Glass,” and “Jihad.” “Giving Ground” features a driving bassline and dark, atmospheric synthesizers, while “Dance on Glass” is an uptempo electronic track with a catchy melody. “Jihad” stands out for its haunting and atmospheric sound, featuring spoken-word vocals and Middle Eastern-influenced instrumentation.
Merciful Release announced the single’s release with a press statement: “From among the forces allied to Merciful Release we bring you the Sisterhood. capturing (in this instance) the musical bile of Andrew Eldritch, and introducing James Ray and the Performance … of whom more soon.”
The original “Giving Ground” version is expanded to a seven minute long take here while the lyrics of “Finland Red Egypt White” are taken from the manual of the AK-47 machine gun and a version of “Colours” was later included as a bonus track on CD versions The Sisters of Mercy album “Floodland” in 1987 only this time sung by Andrew Eldritch.
Aftermath and Legacy
Following the release of “Gift,” The Sisterhood disbanded, and Andrew Eldritch returned his focus to The Sisters of Mercy. The band underwent significant lineup changes, with Patricia Morrison joining as bassist. Eldritch has been relatively quiet about The Sisterhood project in interviews, stating that it served its purpose and that he has moved on from that chapter of his career.
Despite its short-lived existence and limited output, The Sisterhood remains an interesting and controversial part of gothic rock history. The band’s formation, the tension between Eldritch and his former bandmates, and the release of “Gift” have all contributed to a mythology surrounding The Sisterhood that continues to fascinate fans and music historians alike.
Reflecting on The Sisterhood later, Eldritch stated: “The Sisterhood album was a weapon in this corporate war. That’s why I called it Gift (in German: poison) But I still like the record. It’s weird but it’s fine. I see it as a techno record. Or what I thought to be techno at the time. The Sisterhood project was born out of a certain period of upheaval and conflict within the band. It was a way to assert control over the situation and protect the legacy of The Sisters of Mercy. It’s interesting how The Sisterhood has developed its own mythology over the years. People have their own interpretations and theories about it, which is something that has always fascinated me. The Sisterhood was a response to a particular moment in time. It served its purpose, and then we moved on. I don’t spend much time thinking about it these days.”
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