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Death in June - Break the Black Ice

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Uploaded on Mar 22, 2009


Death In June arose in June 1980 from the ashes of classic '77 British punk band Crisis. Guitarist Douglas Pearce and bassist Tony Wakeford were joined by drummer Patrick Leagas.

Douglas P. is the solo member of Death In June since 1986.

Their music started in the postpunk area and later evolved towards a mixture of acoustic ballads and gothic synth music. Death In June are often credited as the forefathers of the so called "Apocalyptic Folk" or "Neofolk" genre.

Etymology of Death In June:

The origins of the name Death in June. It is sometimes considered to be an allusion to the Night of the Long Knives Sturmabteilung purge on June 30, 1934, or alternately to the 1914 assassination in Sarajevo that helped spark World War I. However, Pearce has said that he once misheard Patrick Leagas during a rehearsal and he "heard" it as "Death in June" and settled upon this chance mishearing. The group then subsequently applied it to the project in 1981. Pearce has stated that the name does not express any single idea for him and remains multifaceted.

Symbolism and Aesthetics of Death In June:

They have always used symbolism, in lyrics and aesthetic approaches. Often these symbols are sometimes slightly modified European historical or ancestral symbols or point to general areas of time, with a small 6 applied.


Early Death in June (19811985)

Death in June soon left the reticent punk scene behind and began to infuse their sound with electronics and martial style drumming, combined with a Joy Division-influenced post-punk sound. Their lyrics maintained much of the poetry and political urgency of the early Crisis recordings. Tracks such as the early single sides "Holy Water" and "State Laughter" demonstrated an ongoing fascination with political systems. Further on, Douglas P. would abandon any overt interest in politics in favor of a more esoteric approach to his work.

1983's The Guilty Have No Pride LP, Death in June began to adopt a more traditional European folk sound, using more acoustic guitars, references to ancient and contemporary European history, and combining heavy percussion with electronic soundscapes and post-industrial experimentation.

1985's The Nada! LP introduced a temporary dance sound to Death in June accompanied by other tracks with the previously introduced folk elements. Douglas P. would later state this period was brought about by Patrick Leagas, which is further justified by Leagas' other work as Sixth Comm and later by his joining Mother Destruction, where he would further explore themes of Germanic paganism and historically-inspired music.

Mid-period Death in June (19851996)

*In 1991, Douglas P. named and helped form World Serpent Distribution; a British distribution company that specialized in esoteric, experimental and post-industrial music, which would distribute his NER releases until the late 1990s. During this period, Pearce collaborated with many artists who also had material distributed through the company in various ways.

Collaboration with John Murphy begins

Douglas P. having recently moved to Australia, he came back into contact with John Murphy of Knifeladder and previously of SPK. Murphy began playing live percussion with Death in June during tours from 1996 onwards. This began a period of very stripped down, largely acoustic live performances for Death in June up until Douglas P. announced no further live shows in 2005.

Contemporary Death in June (1996 Present)

*Demise of World Serpent Distribution- The late 1990s marked the beginning of a court case between Death in June and World Serpent Distribution regarding payment and distribution issues with several other artists that were then on the label. This led to many artists that had sided with or had a similar experience to Pearce's leaving the distribution company and largely moving to Tesco Distribution Germany, as well as other then well established labels such as Eis & Licht. Eventually, Pearce was issued an out of court settlement for the case, leading to the demise of World Serpent Distribution. This led to reissues of most of the major albums in the Death in June discography being made freely available, with overhauled, deluxe packaging and a considerably cheaper price.





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