Halloween songs no. 29: Bauhaus – “Stigmata Martyr”

In the Flat Field

Let’s have a couple more British goth tracks in these last days before Halloween. I previously put up Bauhaus’ debut single, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (1979), which is often considered the first gothic rock song. In the Flat Field came out in October 1980 and was their first full-length.

The first and perhaps quintessential goth group, Bauhaus were known for their dark, gloomy sound and image. Daniel Ash played simple but jagged guitar parts that could rapidly turn explosive. David J contributed dub-influenced bass, and he and drummer Kevin Haskins were a precise rhythm section capable of alternating between slow, brooding moods and higher-paced tension. Over it all, Peter Murphy channeled equal parts Iggy Pop and David Bowie into a creepy, maniacal stage presence with a deep, sonorous voice often used in sing-shout fashion.

Bauhaus did 3 more albums, breaking up just a week before the release of 1983’s Burning from the Inside. Murphy embarked on a solo career, while Ash and Haskins did Tones on Tail before being joined by David J to form Love and Rockets, which ran until 1999. Bauhaus briefly reunited in ’98, and then again in 2005 for tours and recording that resulted in a final album, 2008’s Go Away White.

This video of “Stigmata Martyr” is set to clips from the 1988 horror film Night of the Demons. in which a bunch of teenagers hang out in an abandoned mortuary, conduct a séance, and then basically The Evil Dead happens.

In a crucifiction ecstasy
Lying cross chequed in agony
Stigmata bleed continuously
Holes in head, hands, feet, and weep for me

Stigmata, oh you sordid sight
Stigmata in your splintered plight
Look to your crimson orifice
In holy remembrance, in scarlet bliss

Stigmata martyr

In nomine patri et filii et spiriti sanctum

Father, son, and holy ghost


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