A Cool Dark Place to Die

A Cool Dark Place to Die

Infobox Album | Name = A Cool Dark Place to Die
Type = Album
Artist = Theatre of Ice

Released = 1984
Genre = Deathrock
Label = Demented Mind Mill Records
Producer =
Reviews = See article.
Last album = "Beyond the Graves of Passion"
This album = "A Cool Dark Place to Die"
Next album = "Mouse Blood"

"A Cool Dark Place to Die" is an album by the band Theatre of Ice, released in 1984.

Initially conceived as a solo project for lead vocalist Brent Johnson, it instead became the band's third album and one of their most critically acclaimed works. Since the band would only reform on condition that they were never asked to perform live again, a commitment they were never able to keep, the songs took on a far more experimental and unearthly quality. Featuring incredibly effective spooky ambiance, they all but totally abandoned their punk rock roots for a far more electronic sound. This time the band chose to record in various ghost town cemeteries located throughout the Nevada desert. Perhaps more mood than music, it was still reviewed by almost every music magazine as death rock and acclaimed as being unlike anything heard before.


* Brent Johnson - vocals, guitars and effects
* John Johnson - guitar, synthesizer and keyboards
* Mark Johnson - drums and things
* Eric Johnson - invisibility

Track listing

# "Welcome to My World"
# "A Cool Dark Place to Die"
# "Radio Has Gone Insane"
# "Deliverence"
# "Love"
# "Twilight Messiah"
# "Witchcraft"
# "Circle of Stars"
# "The Calling"
# "Rejoice"
# "Life is a Circus"
# "Oblivion"
# "It"'s All Over Now
# "Riding the Nightmare"
# "Candlemas"
# "The Murdering Mind"
# "One Two"
# "Overcoming Peace of Mind"
# "The Horror That Comes in the Night"
# "Death... and Beyond"
# "The Last"


* "Factsheet Five", New York - Another excellent cornucopia of horror sounds. Morbid and sometimes simplistic lyrics are easily outweighted by the incredibly effective spooky ambiance. The only thing I miss is the couple of almost punk tracks on their last album. This is the group issuing from the Nevada farmland. This album was recorded in series of haunted cemeteries, and on their third outing Brent and John have definitely mastered the recording process, though all their releases have been professional in sound and packaging. Get this and play it on your doorstep on Halloween next year. Get this and scare yourself. Includes a nifty illustrated lyric booklet.
* "Sporadic Droolings" - Of all the experimental bands I've heard, Theatre of Ice is undoubtedly one of my favorite and certainly on of the most interesting. This makes all previous horror rock efforts sound like the Bay City Rollers. Superb packaging on the these (lyric booklets with each, laminated fold-outs...) and if this stuff does not give you the slightest willies as you listen in a pitch black room you must be a genuine creep (like a child molester or something like that). What this band seems to do is take traditional rock structures, and in some cases even poppy melodies and chord progressions and use and abuse them until they meet a sort of demented standard. What you receive is a thoroughly flaked-out listening experience where there is no possible way you know what is going to pop out of the next Jack-in-the-box. Thorough incorporation of insanely haunting background effects that prove to be quite the horror film soundtrack. But it'd surely have to be a top-notch scare flick. Johnson Brothers two are this era's Hudson Brothers or maybe even Allman Brothers. Utterly and quasi-insanely intense and hypnotizing maybe. "A Cool Dark Place To Die" is their latest release of morbidly motivated meanderings. "Mouse Blood" is a compilation of their first three albums (selected cuts as chosen by friends who hate the band). I'm impressed. Nearly an hour of pleasurable terrot. You had best be ready for this one boys and girls!. [ "Record Reviews". (1986, Issue No 5). "Sporadic Droolings"]
* "Flipside", California - Nicely paackage album of spooky death rock, with lots of effects and noises. If you like moody gloom, this is for you.
* "Ink Disease", California - Woo, spooky stuff, kids! Twisted teens from Nevada strike fear into the hearts of men with their creepy blood and death syntho-beats. Too bad we got this after halloween. More mood than music, but good for a dose of the old late-night willies.
* "Urgl-Orp", Canada - Almost 60 minutes of nightmare soundtrack muzak complete with lyrics about death and scary, Halloween type things. A little sparse sounding for my tastes, but I like it.
* "Sagebrush", Reno, Nevada - These clean cut brothers have come up with another fun bunch of songs on this their third album of Deathrock. As usual they use tons of echoed-and-time-delayed guitar, synthesizers and whatever else happens to be around to create that graveyard-at-midnight sound. The main difference between this album and the first two is the cleaner production and the inclusion of some soft, even melodic parts to break up the intensity.
* "Maximum RocknRoll", California. Unbelieavable!!! Album number 3, and the shit just keeps getting creppier and scarier. At first I wrote these guys off as a novelty act, but I guess there really is a movemnet afoot – and are these guys really brothers!! What must Christmas be like at the Johnson home. Has anybody seen mommy and daddy lately?
* "Bloody Mess", Illinois - Look out horror fans. This band (consisting of the Johnson Brothers) from Nevada is here to crawl inside your brain and haunt you with lots of electronic effects and super lyrics. This album is scary, demented and you should buy a copy to give to your pastor! Some select cuts include: "Welcome To My World", "Twilight Messiah", and "The Last"... but it's all great. Look for these zombies to appear on The Bloody Mess horror music compilation. "No one really feels safe and secure until they're dead".
* "Ear Meat", California - "A tortured product of the demented mind mill" - their slogan really says it all. Deathrock ala King. Experience oblivion and wallow in the mire. Theatre of Ice should meet Jandek (on Corwood). Densely rich cemetery songs. Oh baby, grove to the sound of the gentle annihilation beat. I've had had to rescue this album from coverters more than once. Morbid minds think alike and perversity is a shared trait. Mortals stick with this - prophets should be heard if not endured.
* "High Octane", England - You're unlikely to find, anywhere on the face of this planet, a more heartwarming brand of music than Theatre of Ice, a 4-piece "weirdo-rock" band from the USA. Maybe I was lying slightly (or even a lot-Ed). Just listen to some of the titles of the 21 songs on their latest album entitled "A Cool Dark Place To Die". "The Murdering Mind"; "Death and Beyond". These are all obviously titles of incredibly happy songs; do you get the general impression yet? The booklet and inserts which came with the album contain pictures of skeletons, grim reapers etc. on nearly every page, with the occasional cheery drawing of someone being crucified, just for good measure. And yet, despite their moroseness, Theatre of Ice actually produce an intriguing kind of music which is, in a strange way, very listenable to. Synthesisers projecting ethereal dischords to the back of your head; quiet, but crashing guitars; unconventional percussion, and vocals that sound as if Brent is about to commit suicide all lead to a generally depressing overall sound. Listen to the album in small doses and you will receive an insight into what Theatre of Ice's members think constitute the world around them: terror and insanity. You will also hear some great musical talent and be impressed by an alternative, innovative approach to music. Everything suits the style and the mood perfectly, even the occasional guitar solo as in "Witchcraft" and the Marillion-style keyboards in "Circle of Stars". There is, however, a danger with this album and as such it should carry a warning sticker: "Anybody listening to the whole of this album in one go is liable to commit suicide." [ "Record Reviews". (January 1986, No 3). "High Octane"]


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