Mission of Dead Souls documents Throbbing Gristle's last live performance in San Francisco before splinting into Coil, Psychic TV, and Chris & Cosey. The recording sounds like it was sourced from an audience tape with the surrounding attendees carrying on conversations, and some drastic stereo panning makes it a poor introduction to the band. Unfortunate, since the show finds the band especially driven and menacing. It's a given that TG's studio work was noisy and abstract, but more was left to chance in better gigs like this, with primitive synthesizers and other electronics pitted against a band trying to keep some semblance of control. Taped voices introduce "Spirits Flying," before a shrieking swoop of the synthesizer swirls above a Can-like groove that proves that TG's assault never lacked talent or skill. "Vision and Voice," like many of the tracks, builds and builds the noise, striking one blow after another against rhythm and melody. "Persuasion U.S.A." presents the song with more of a creeping beat than usual, and "Discipline (Reprise)" gives listeners a rapid version of the song before the band leaves the stage to a Martin Denny tape. The CD adds two studio cuts to the album, the angelic "Distant Dreams, Pt. 2" and the sleazy "Something Came Over Me," whose aberrant lyrics could only be truly enjoyed by raincoated degenerates.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries