The early 80s was a huge time in the development of the genre of goth within the UK. I have to admit to never hearing of the band Salvation before now. Not that this is a complete surprise living as far away from the UK as you can get. In the 80s and even 90s, most ‘gothic’ music was still fairly underground and passed by word of mouth apart from those acts that had broken into the charts such as Siousxie And The Banshees, The Cure, The Mission et al. You couldn’t look up bands on the internet which was in it’s infancy and I can remember watching the more alternative friendly music shows on the television and listening to the BBC near midnight (trying not to get caught as it was a school night). So this inspired me to do some investigation into Salvation, who released the live album, We Gave You Diamonds… Live At De Casino! in November.
This from the band’s bio – Formed in 1983, the original line-up of the band was Daniel Mass (vocals), Mike Hayes (guitar) and James Elmore (bass). At the time, Daniel Mass was working with The Sisters of Mercy, and lead singer Andrew Eldritch took the band to K.G. Studios in Bridlington to record and produce Salvation’s first single Girlsoul which came out on the Merciful Release label. Soon Eldritch and the band were back behind the mixing desk – this time at Stockport’s Strawberry Studios to record 6 songs for the prospective Clash of Dreams album on Merciful Release. The record was shelved before release and only came out in an expanded version in 2015. In 1985, Salvation recruited new guitarist Choque Hosein, and drummer Paul Maher replaced the drum machine. On 16.03.85, the band played their first live gig at Leeds University’s Tartan Bar. 1985 also saw the recording of the Jessica’s Crime 12” – this time with The Mission’s Wayne Hussey in the Producer’s chair. This was followed in 1986 by another 3-track EP entitled Seek. In 1987, with the addition of second guitarist Benoît Farvak and new bassist Richard Miechje, Salvation recorded their first album Diamonds are Forever which entered the UK Indie Charts in July that year. In 1988, the band signed a new record deal with alternative label Karbon and released both Sunshine Superman (a Donovan cover) and the All and More EP which gained BBC Radio 1 airplay. In 1989, Adam Clarkson (guitar) and George Schultz (drums) joined the line-up and Salvation toured extensively with bands such as The Mission, New Model Army, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and Pop Will Eat Itself. At the end of the year, Salvation signed to Miles Copeland’s IRS label and released a new single entitled Debris and their second album Sass. In 1990, they supported labelmates The Alarm on their ‘No Frontiers’ tour. Within the next 18 months, disagreements and infighting lead to the departure of singer Mass and the disintegration of the band. Salvation’s first CD compilation Hunger Days was released in 1997 on the Timeslip label and 10 years later, the band reformed to play Leeds Metropolitan University with The March Violets. Since then, the band have been touring regularly in the UK playing their own shows and supporting, amongst others, Fields of The Nephilim and Skeletal Family
Leeds was a melting pot of alternative music from the late 70s which would bring forth such bands at Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, The March Violets, Gang Of Four, Ghost Dance as well as the juggernauts of Sisters Of Mercy, Soft Cell and The Mission. Salvation came into existence during a time of both musical, social and political upheaval. They have a very loyal core fan base that will follow them to see them live and that quite frankly perked my interest even more.
So we dived into this live album. I don’t like to delve too deeply into live releases because these are often the creme de la creme of songs and fan favourites. The recording is brilliant. When did live recordings get so good?! I have some old stuff that sounds like it was taped through a tin can from the mosh pit and until recently avoided listening most live stuff but this is crystal clear, so very good and there are songs featured from throughout their career so far. Mass is the charismatic lead who chatters amicably to the audience between sets before the band wholeheartedly launch into each track. This was a tour where Salvation were support for The Mission and you can almost hear the joy this lot get from playing live. If you are like me and Salvation is a new name for you, then this might be the gateway to a new drug however if you love them and miss seeing them play live then this might tide you over until the next gig! This is the exciting thing about music…the chance to keep discovering gems.