"Goths can't rock, so the misconception goes - their musical abilities extend only as far as writing fey songs about damaged girls named Isabelle and Lucretia, with spidery, moaning guitars, cackling laughter and lots of cheeky echo effects. Well, Floodland has songs dedicated to both Isabelle and Lucretia (one even named after the latter), plenty of echo, and Andrew Eldritch even indulges in a cackle halfway through track four. And whenever the Sisters tour (which is increasingly rare these days), a gaggle of dodgy darklings always creep from their hiding places and graveyards to swoon to their concerts. You'd think, based on this, that this was yet another awful album from a subgenre best left to fade away in the distant mists of time.Well, you'd be wrong. That awful album you're thinking of is probably something by Bauhaus. Floodland, on the other hand, is a very good album. By this point, Eldritch was left as the only member of The Sisters of Mercy, and in fact that helped him far more than not. Now it was down to him and a drum machine named Doktor Avalanche, by far the most awesome drum machine that ever laid down a funky beat, to carry on the Sisters name. Floodland is the first and best album that resulted from this earth-shaking collaboration.The popular misconception goes on to posit that so-called "goth rock" is tortuously slow, dour, humourless stuff. And very few songs on Floodland run for less than five minutes. Calling them slow, however, is buffoonery incarnate, for practically the entire album booms with Doktor Avalanche's thunderous grooves, which invite even the most sedentary posteriors to get up and dance. Furthermore, Eldritch proves himself to be no slouch at guitar playing. The guitars are immensely helped by the excellent production - far from sounding fey and spidery, they sound vibrant, exotic, sensuous, oddly spiritual (a quality only enhanced by the use of the New York Choral Society on "Dominion/Mother Russia" and "This Corrosion"). And then, there's Eldritch's voice, itself one of the great visceral thrills of rock music. Even when a song isn't great, even when the lyrics are impenetrable ("and the fifty-two daughters of the revolution turn the gold to chrome"? what?), it's exciting just to hear that rumbling, sepulchral (but oddly cultured) singing.Maybe we didn't need all eleven minutes of "This Corrosion." But it has a chorus so infectious, and Eldritch roars so wonderfully in the last verse, that the length stops being an issue and one can even forgive some of the lyrics ("kill the king when love is the law"? what are you talking about?). Similarly, "Dominion/Mother Russia" and "Lucretia My Reflection" ride their choruses (chori?) and Eldritch's singing to the status of classics of sorts. And indeed, there's something weirdly exultant about the outro to the former, which goes "Mother Russia/Mother Russia/Mother Russia rain down down down...", and the gradual buildup of the latter, however silly the title might be. Among this, "1959" is a song which would have been sunk under its own weight had anyone else tried to sing it, but which comes off as a dignified, stately bit of chamber music thanks to, again, Eldritch's soulful vocal. It's "Flood II" that steals the show, though - using the sweeping guitar line, it builds up to great crescendos and becomes, well, as good a rock anthem as the best of them. If those dodgy darklings ever air guitar, they do it to this song. And who can blame them? I certainly can't imagine anyone who wouldn't pump their fist in the air to it. "Driven Like the Snow" comes next; it's a lot more subdued than most of what preceded it, but it's actually one of the album's best offerings. The chilly bass line and Eldritch's low rumble make it one of the most evocative and wintry songs I've ever heard - one need only hear "And the cars lost in the drift are there" to see them quite clearly. Following this is the foreboding, dreamlike and almost as good "Never Land (fragment)." This is where the album was meant to have ended, and it's a good place. However, two "bonus tracks" follow - "Torch" and "Colours." They're actually quite good, though not the album's best.This album has been largely ignored, and rather unfairly at that, due to that "goth" label. If the label means screaming, posturing, cheap melodrama, dime-store angst, and loutish aggression, as it has come to mean thanks to the tireless efforts of second-rate hacks from all over the world, then it does not apply to the Sisters at all. Floodland is good music, plain and simple. There's some unintentional humour to be had from its more self-conscious moments, certainly (as Eldritch with his love of godawful seventies shirts well knew), but overall it's rather an impressive achievement. What else needs be said?"
Album itself deserves 5 stars, but reissue is spotty
Eric Edelin | Baltimore, Maryland USA | 11/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Floodland' is an alternative rock classic, undoubtedly. Andrew Eldritch came back after a difficult three-year hiatus which included the "corrosion" of his band and the Sisterhood project (which was his way of preventing the bandmates from using a name that too closely resembled his Sisters Of Mercy; they later became The Mission UK). Left with a drum machine and new bass player, Patricia Morrison, Eldritch made what is probably their most popular and well-received album. 'Floodland' is a very well-produced work that mixes the pomp and bombast of 70s rock, and the Sisters' more familiar goth-alternative sound. To achieve this mix, Eldritch used Jim Steinman, of Meat Loaf fame, to produce the album. 'This Corrosion' roars on for nearly eleven minutes with a huge forty-piece choir, chugging synths and guitars, and a very upbeat dance rhythm. While the result does sound dated today, it is still an absolute production marvel. 'Lucretia My Reflection' is driven by a forceful, repetitive bassline that sounds doomy as their previous work, but still manages to stick in your head. There is even a sad piano ballad, in the form of '1959' to balance the album out.
This reissue of 'Floodland' only proves how well-produced the original album was. The remaster doesn't add a world of change to the old cd issue other than a slight volume boost and maybe a bit more low-end. The packaging is first-rate, however, with an attractive digipak and a booklet filled with pictures and an essay about the album, along with complete lyrics. The four bonus tracks (two of which were added to the original cd pressing of the album) are very welcome, especially the epic twelve-minute full-length of 'Neverland'. Overall, if one is considering repurchasing this because of the remaster, the price is a bit steep for a remaster that only slightly improves the over fifteen-year-old cd. The packaging and bonus tracks might be an incentive to repurchase this, however. This reissue is for fans only; those unacquainted with the group would be better of picking up the cheaper domestic pressing."
The ultimate goth album
Erica Anderson | Minneapolis, MN | 10/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know where to begin but this album is just totally phenomenal. A friend of mine burned "Flood II" on a compilation of goth and industrial music for me, and I was completely taken away by Andrew Eldritch's haunting vocals. Andrew reminds me a lot of Ronny from Clan of Xymox, a recent discovery of mine. "Floodland" is definitely a must have goth album. The melancholic lyrics and gorgeous melodies is breathtaking. I was surprised how well this album holds up today, especially the production. The production on this album isn't overly produced, raw, and best of all doesn't sound dated. As far as the songs themselves goes, all the songs are classics. Of course I am quite partial to "Flood II". As much as I dislike Jim Steinman, he did a really excellent job with "This Corrosion". He managed to avoid having Andrew Eldritch sound like Meatloaf. And for a song that goes over ten minutes, I don't get bored listening to it. "1959" is a haunting ballad which always sends chills down my spine whenever I listen to it. I absolutely love the catchiness of "Lucretia My Reflection". I love the deep basslines in the song. The bonus tracks were awesome. Normally, bonus tracks on most albums are filler tracks but not in this case. This entire album is flawless. There isn't one song on this album I didn't like. I definitely rank "Floodland" as one of my personal favorite records of all time. This is what goth music should sound like."
Jimbo111 | Heartland, USA | 11/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Floodland...there is only one! If you haven't heard it, if you haven't felt the power of Dominion/Mother Russia, or This Corrosion, where have you been! Floodland will rush in, powerful, unstoppable, "like a million voices", like a dumdum bullet. Experience from the masters a sound countless bands have tried to copy, but not even the Sisters could duplicate. If you like pure power, captivating rhythm, raw emotion, tune in, turn it up...loud, and hold on. I wish there were more Floodlands, more Corrosion, like the wind ripping through your hair, like blasting down a country road on your biggest, badest, loudest Harley, like "a healing hand" in the dark of the night, but no, there is only one Floodland...enter here! Jimbo111"
The best Sisters of Mercy ever
Cuzzin It | Veguita | 04/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is "THE" Alternitive rock record from the mid 80's. relaxed smokey beat with deep solemm lyrics....."