Over the years, Christian Death have epitomized what could be called the "revolving door syndrome" in rock -- in other words, the band has had so many lineup changes (one right after another) that it is hard to stay on top of who is and isn't a Christian Death member. Some admirers of Christian Death's early-'80s recordings will, of course, argue that the 2007 lineup heard on American Inquisition -- singer, guitarist, and keyboardist Valor Kand; singer and bassist Maitri; and drummer Nate Hassan -- is Christian Death in name only, and that no lineups since the departure of the late Rozz Williams in the mid-'80s deserve to be called Christian Death. This highly conceptual effort (which is best described as goth rock, darkwave, and alternative rock) has received a wide variety of reviews on the Internet; some reviewers have trashed it while others have praised it -- and the truth is somewhere in the middle. American Inquisition is a worthwhile, if uneven and sometimes self-indulgent, outing that takes dead aim at one of Christian Death's favorite targets -- far-right Christian fundamentalists -- and points out the disturbing alliance between Christianity's lunatic fringe (which doesn't speak for all Christians) and the George W. Bush Administration. The eyes of some listeners will no doubt roll when Christian Death get into kooky conspiracy theories claiming that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were staged not by al-Qaeda, but by a secret society of globalists who the Bush Administration is in cahoots with -- a theory that is impossible to take seriously because the neocons' abysmal track record (invading Iraq without a coherent game plan, Hurricane Katrina, a staggering federal deficit) is the work of bumbling, incompetent fools, not people sophisticated enough to carry out elaborate conspiracies. Nonetheless, American Inquisition is an intriguing listen despite its excesses, and truly die-hard Christian Death followers will find things to appreciate about this 69-minute CD even though it isn't among the band's essential releases.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson