Disjecta Membra are arguably New Zealand’s most popular gothic rock group. Originally formed in 1993 the band released its debut album Achromaticia in 1997 so now we’re still talking about it two decades later not long after its 20th Anniversary. Over 24 years the group has gone through some inevitable changes in line-up but in 1997 the band consisted of Michel Rowland (guitar, voices, programming), Ben Cauchi (bass) and Tamlyn Martinovich (keyboards).
Leading in with ‘Cathedral’ does a wonderful job of setting the tone for what is a very atmospheric album. Church-bells and chanting with screams in the distance is an essential part of the soundtrack for any goth after all. Moving on to ‘Skin Trade’ incorporates a lot more traditional gothic rock elements with its blending of keys and guitar but its not until ‘Third Song’ (the fourth track) that you start to hear the best guitar work.
The album features an impressive variety of tracks whether its the hypnotic spoken word style of ‘Malcolm’ or the dark cabaret feel of ‘Androgyne Waltz’ but perhaps what is more impressive is the way the album is put together. Start to finish takes you through a great variation of tracks without ever feeling broken and all the while maintaining an incredible atmospheric quality that borders on the ethereal particularly through-out ‘The Sleep’.
Though it would be easy to talk about every individual track of the album nothing will compare to actually hearing it. While it is expected for goths to pay homage to the likes of Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy, here in New Zealand at least, Disjecta Membra is a band that shouldn’t be left off that list. With the Twentieth Anniversary Edition re-issue of Achromaticia coming soon to CD don’t miss the chance to add it to your collection.