Feature, Reviews

Bauhaus – “The Bela Sessions EP” Review | Gavin Brown

December 16, 2018


The Bela Session

There are tracks that could be described as seminal and then there are tracks that have defined an entire culture worldwide both musically and stylistically. Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus is a track that is definitely both of these (and even though the word seminal can be overused when it comes to music, it is justified here without a doubt) and its influence is still felt the world over. The track, almost forty years old now is still deservedly seen as the quintessential gothic rock song and has now been released as The Bela Session in its original form along with a slew of unreleased Bauhaus material that’s shows that it certainly still stands up and is a timeless and stirring goth anthem. The track has been covered by artists as diverse as Nine Inch Nails, Sepultura, Dead Cross, Massive Attack and Chvrches and has soundtracked numerous tv series and films, most notably the classic 1983 horror movie The Hunter and the dark nature of the track has ensured its enduring popularity throughout the past few decades. 

At over nine and a half minutes, Bela Lugosis Dead is a menacing and lurching piece of music (and impressively it was recorded after the band had only been together for a mere six weeks) that starts off with a creeping vibe, headed up with Kevin Haskins primitive but highly effective drumbeat and his brother David J’s bassline before being joined by a piercing riff courtesy of guitarist Daniel Ash and Peter Murphy’s effective and highly influential vocal style. The song is catchy and also hypnotic and retains an eerie vibe about for the whole duration of the song, with the lyrics being self explanatory and a vital part of the band’s style. 

Although Bela Lugosi’s Dead is undoubtedly the centerpiece here (and rightly so), the rest of material on The Bela Session can not be ignored and demonstrate the beginnings of the dark sound of Bauhaus and their primitively post punk sound that has definite elements of the Velvet Underground albeit with a more macabre and menacing sound particularly on the tracks Some Faces and Bite My Hips (both of which are from the same session as Bela Lugosi’s Dead and are previously unreleased) while the track Harry (a Bauhaus B-Side from a few years later) showcases a more playful and upbeat side to the bands sound. Another unreleased track, the original version of Boys, which was re-recorded and acted as the B-Side to Bela Lugosi’s Dead rounds things off and acts as a signing off point to the start of the bands career. The track is a bit more discordant compared to the other songs on here  but fits in well on this Bauhaus history lesson. 

The focus on the Bela Sessions will, of course, focus on the title track but there is also plenty to explore here and is a great insight into the start and long lasting influence that Bauhaus have had. It is also a plus point that even the most hardened Bauhaus fan will find new elements to delve into while people who are new to the band, their sound and their legacy couldn’t find a better place to start while getting into the dark world of Bauhaus.

Bauhaus The Bela Session Out Now Via Leaving Records
Find More : https://bauhaus.bandcamp.com/



Words : Gavin Brown

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