Death In June - Symbols And Clouds - Euro Cross Commemorative Edit [Nerus/Soleilmoon - 2009]“Symbols And Clouds - Euro Cross Commemorative Edition” brings together the best of two classic mid 1990s Death In June albums with tracks from ‘92s “But, What Ends When The Symbols Shatter?” and ‘95s “Rose Clouds Of Holocaust”. It also offers up a second disc of stripped-down acoustic versions of the same tracks recorded in 2005 after Death In June’s last tour.
The first thing you’ll notice about this re-issue is the very lush, weighty & classy package it comes-in. The two CDs are inside a felt folder which is, in turn, inside a soapstone and laser-engraved granite stone cross box which features a classic picture of Douglas P. in his creepy stage mask & camouflage on the front centre of the box. On each edge of the four pointed cross is engraved one word of the title along with the Life Rune at the top point. The box also includes four double-sided full colour info cards with pictures of Mr P. in his infamous mask in various poses & track info on the reverse. As well as a Runic Whiphand 6 cloth patch and a collection of four different silver Rune pendants which each represent Birth, Life, Destiny and Joy. Really, it’s a beautiful, awe inspiring & wonderfully thought out bit of packaging that’s also a weighty & impressive looking ornament, too!
The music inside holds up to the impressive & lush package with CD1 featuring firstly most of ‘92s “But, What Ends When The Symbols Shatter?” with only two of the twelve original tracks not appearing here in the form of “Dædalus Rising” & “This Is Not Paradise”. Then we have most of ‘95s “Rose Clouds Of Holocaust” except the following two tracks “Jerusalem The Black” & “Life Books”. But, there’s also two rare singles mixed in with the latter part of the album in the form of “Cathedral Of Tears” & “Leopard Flowers” which are both of equally classic Neo folk quality like the other tracks on here & fit in nicely with the flow of the disc. The two albums make perfect bed fellows as each has quite a lush, dreamy, creative, sometimes dense, almost pop production & edge to them. Death in June’s acoustic song craft is layered & detailed with: vibes, female backing & sombre male harmony vocals, synthetic string & choir swoons, various creative percussive sounds, keyboards, organs, melodica & the odd burst of warming, mellow & melodic brass. Really, both albums are crying out to be played via a good pair of headphones so you can hear & pick-out the dramatic, creative & at times a little unnerving production details & sounds. Each and every track on both albums are classic slices of Death In June & take in some of their most famous & respected songs like: “He's Disabled”, “Little Black Angel”, “But, What Ends When The Symbols Shatter ?” “Symbols Of The Sun” and “Rose Clouds Of Holocaust”. All of the tracks find Death in June in its more tuneful singer-songwriter mode with both albums showing the band at its most beautiful & approachable.
CD2 takes in more stripped back, mainly acoustic guitar & voice versions of fifteen of the twenty tracks from the first disc. These were all recorded in June, 2005 at the end of the final Death In June tour with the tracks receiving a final mix & production in 2008. These versions of the songs highlight the more stark, edgy, emotional &, at times, creepy edges of Death In June’s song craft. To heighten the more unhinged & creepy edges of these tracks there are added to the start of the songs often off kilter, & sometimes jarring, film dialogue, TV programme samples or unhinged surreal soundscapes much like the elements found on Death In June’s last album of new material; 2008’s “The Rule of Thirds”, though these unhinged elements tend to infringe less on the songs themselves compared with what happened on “The Rule of Thirds” album.
In summing up; “Symbols And Clouds - Euro Cross Commemorative Edition” is one the most impressive, thought-out & grandly packaged reissues you’ll ever come across. With each disc inside being worth the box’s weight in gold; with the first disc’s clever, distinctive, memorable & sonically detailed lush sound taking in over 70 minutes of music & the second disc offering up a more stark, barren & often unhinged sonic counterpart to the first CD’s lush & rich charms. So don’t be put off by the high price label of this release as it’s more than worth every penny to old & new fans alike. But, I advise quick action as these are understandably ltd. to 1000 copies which will disappear very quickly indeed!. Roger Batty