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Death In June - The World That Summer, 20th Anniversary Edition 1986-2006

Following the departure of Patrick Leagas after the release of NADA!, The World That Summer became the first Death In June album with Douglas P. firmly at the helm, aided by Current 93's David Tibet under the pseudonym Christ 777, and Andreas James of Somewhere In Europe. On The World That Summer Douglas P.'s pristine acoustic tracks are interspersed with a series of electronic tracks. There's a shadowy presence of submerged voices and electro nuances that make The World That Summer a beguiling sinister album. That the protagonists were masked and brandishing blades only adds to the dark allure of this release.

The influence of Douglas P.'s twin idols Jean Genet and Yukio Mishima, hang heavily here, especially on the oblique 'Hidden Among The Leaves' and the proto-martial noisescape 'Death of a Man' - a track that surely acted as a blueprint to the works of Boyd Rice that would come years later. The words of 'Blood of Winter', like 'Love Murder' were sung in high-pitched tones, something not pursued on later works, bereft of acoustic strum. Instead they evoked a creepy atmosphere, borne from paired out-of-time voices delivered in different keys, where percussion, castanets combine with trumpet score and guitar twang. 'Love Murder', meanwhile, opted for looped keyboards, swathes of electro shudder and church-like organs bringing the first side to a close.

The influence of David Tibet on Side 2, of which he co-wrote, is obvious, and perhaps understated. The spectre of Aleister Crowley hangs over 'Rule Again', the trinity of voices combining to great effect over strident acoustic guitars, bass throb as Death In June deliver the Great Beast's maxim: Love is the Law, Love Under Will, crushing onwards through gongs, spirited horns and Tibet's eerie wail. With its shuddering electronics and Tibet's evil cackle an unholy atmosphere is created on 'Blood Victory', a scathing attack on Christianity pitting Tibet's pained cries against Pearce's steady tones. The incessant sniping keyboards and percussion may have been Death In June but the unpleasant atmosphere created was closer to Current 93's Dog's Blood Rising.

The World That Summer also spawned a number of enduring Death In June classics, most notably the sublime 'Come Before Christ And Murder Love', apparently the first song written by Douglas P. way back in 1974. Even now the syncopated drums, mournful keyboards, tolling bells that swathe the darkly melodic tones can't fail to delight. It's sublime beauty isn't wasted on David Tibet who, in recent years, regarded it as being as equally classic and important as tracks such as 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' and 'Montague Terrace In Blue'. Another live favourite over the years was 'Torture By Roses' to which Douglas P.'s poised and powerful voice, amidst a concoction of harmonies and whispers, and acoustic strum laid something of a template for later Death In June songs. With its simple piano melody, trumpet score and cyclical guitar patterns 'Break The Black Ice' alluded to childhood nightmares or sexual initiation. Likewise 'Rocking Horse Night' with its nursery musical box dredged back childhood memories. The twinned voices of Tibet and Douglas P. proclaiming a shared dark vision capturing a moment in time. It, like the rest of The World That Summer, cast a haunted atmosphere that was never recaptured on subsequent Death In June releases. The World That Summer can also boast to be the only Death In June title owned by the late Dirk Bogarde.

The extra disc in this anniversary package compiles a number of remixes from the long out-of-print collection The Corn Years, together with recent rerecordings. 'Come Before Christ And Murder Love', 'Rocking Horse Night', and 'Torture By Roses' are pristine studio representations capturing the acoustic versions that Douglas P. and percussionist John Murphy had been performing in Death In June's intimate performances over the recent past years. Elsewhere Rose MacDowall's bittersweert voice leads the sublime re-reading of 'Break The Black Ice', Douglas P. provides sinister whisperings over 'Love Murder' and the Tibet fronted 'Rule Again' is stripped of its acoustic exterior.

Enclosed in specially carved stone case engraved with the Totenkopf 6 symbol and Life Rune this is, by far, one of the most beautiful releases I've encountered. Limited to 1000 copies, this will be snapped up by Death In June fanatics everywhere. However, The World That Summer caught Death In June in a transitional phase and its unavailability in a less expensive format is unforgiving as novices and newcomers would surely appreciate the singular beauty Death In June conjured on this release. For more information go to www.deathinjune.net or www.soleilmoon.com