Artist: The Rose of Avalanche
Album: Always There
Release: 1986
Genre: Goth, psychedelic, rock

The Rose Of Avalanche deserved to be big. They existed in some eerie zone of psychedelic hard rock with slow-burning goth beats, but to call them just “a goth band” would be to do them a major disservice. Their sound owes more to the Yardbirds than the Mission.

One of the many factors that got in their way was labels completely mismanaging the band, releasing compilations and unfinished material without any input from the group themselves.
This compilation is one of those such records, containing various tracks from the preceding few singles. Disregarding these circumstances, however, “Always There” has barely been off my turntable since I got it.

Three a-sides in particular stand out as gothic highlights: “Always There”, “Velveteen” and their debut “L.A. Rain”, beloved of John Peel.
But delve deeper and you’ll find fuzzbox-fuelled rock-and-roll rhythms, including their own take on The Doors’ “Waiting For The Sun”, and the “L.A. Rain” b-side “Rise To The Groove”, in which as Phil Morris spits out rhetoric about how “Little Richard’s crawlin’, knockin’ at the door!” over a serpentine guitar part.

In short: This is an excellent set of tracks from the start of The Rose Of Avalanche’s career, and if you’re into your glam-tinged dark rock, you should definitely check them out.

Rating: 9/10
Recommended Tracks: Always There, L.A. Rain, Too Many Castles In The Sky
Reviewer: DJ Catnip (original review published in Vanitas #001)