The Sisters of Mercy are an English rock band, formed in 1980 in Leeds. After achieving early underground fame there, the band had their commercial breakthrough in the mid-1980s and sustained it until the early 1990s, when they stopped releasing new recorded output in protest against their record company WEA. Currently, the band are a touring outfit only. The group has released three original studio albums, the last of which was released in 1990. Each album was recorded by a different line-up; singer-songwriter Andrew Eldritch and the drum machine called Doktor Avalanche are the only points of continuity throughout. Eldritch and Avalanche were also involved in The Sisterhood, a side-project connected with Eldritch's dispute with former members.
The Sisters of Mercy recorded three sessions for BBC Radio One, the first and the third one with John Peel and the second one with David "Kid" Jenson. This release includes their third session on June 19th, 1984.
While the goth scene in England was picking up commercial steam in the mid-'80s, the Sisters of Mercy may have seemed quiet, but they roared back with 1987's Floodland. Opening with the driving two-part hymn "Dominion/Mother Russia," Sisters leader Andrew Eldritch (along with bassist Patricia Morrison) creates a black soundscape that is majestic and vast. While the earlier Sisters releases were noisy, sometimes harsh affairs, Floodland is filled with lush production (thanks to Meat Loaf writer/producer Jim Steinman and the New York Choral Society) and lyric imagery that is both scary and glorious. The slower tracks, like "Flood" and "1959," are some of the best ethereal sounds goth has to offer, and the downright regal "This Corrosion" is one of the best songs of the genre. A definite milestone.
A Slight Case of Overbombing gathered together material from goth merchants the Sisters of Mercy's three major-label releases. That fact immediately sets the stage for complaints from longtime fans desiring their indie music. However, for the listener more familiar with the band's mid- to late-'80s college radio tracks, this is a very good collection. The lyrics are rather pointless and Andrew Eldritch's vocals lack dynamics, but his singing has personality that overcomes his limitations. It's the edgy, hard gothic rock of the music that is their strength. There's an undeniable pull to songs like the galloping "This Corrosion" or the epic "More" (both produced by Jim Steinman). There's also a mix of "Temple of Love," featuring Ofra Haza, and an unreleased track, "Under the Gun." Not essential, but a good record for the casual fan (although more extensive liner notes would have been nice).