From the ashes of the left-wing punk band Crisis came the right-wing Joy Division tribute band Death In June. After working hard to establish an independent sound, Death In June released "The World That Summer." As another reviewer mentioned, this is definitely a transitional album in the sense that it bridges the gap between Death In June's post-punk, electronic genesis and their subsequent neofolk stylings on albums like "But What Ends When The Symbols Shatter?" Like another "transitional" album I love -- Bathory's "Blood Fire Death" -- this represents the band's best and most interesting work to date.
From the opening track, "Blood Of Winter," it's clear this album is something new and different. With its hypnotic percussion, recurring Middle Eastern melodies, and clever interplay between the bass guitar and the trumpet, it gives this unpredictable album an attention-grabbing start. Throwing consistency to the wind, the next track is of a Japanese woman delivering a monologue written by Pearce favorite Mishima Yukio over a synthesized organ piece. Guitar-based songs like "Torture By Roses," "Rule Again," and "Break The Black Ice" do much to presage Death In June's truly dark folk turn represented by the above mentioned "But What Ends..." The best song on this album, however, is the monstrously addictive "Come Before Christ And Murder Love." This is a truly perfect song and, as far as I'm concerned, Death In June's best. The only oddity on this album is the bizarre 16-minute war documentary-derived epic "Death Of A Man" that I still don't entirely understand (or like). However, given the strength of every other song on this album, it's easy to overlook.
In short, although this album represents Death In June's transition from erratic and esoteric post-punk to accessible yet apocalyptic neofolk, the band is hardly suffering from an identity crisis. Instead, this is the meeting place of two fruitful eras of artistic creation and Death In June's finest hour. Along with Current 93's, this is the album that all other neofolk bands try (and usually fail) to recreate. Highly recommended.