(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
Very rarely will I review and suggest a compilation of a band on this site, but the output of this band is too important to ignore.
Following a Sex Pistols gig, guitarist and keyboardist Bernard (Albrecht) Sumner, bassist Peter Hook, drummer Stephen Morris and the charismatic front man, lead singer Ian Curtis formed a band, first going under the name "Warsaw" then within a couple of months changing there name to Joy Division.
Of all of the bands that were influenced by The UK Punk scene, none were more important than Joy Division. Joy Division, single-handedly where responsible for what would later be termed "Goth Rock", and within the band's brief tenure, the band was fortunate to have recorded a plethora of material that would make fans of Radiohead, The Cure and Siouxsie And The Banshees blush.
The band only recorded two studios together with lead singer Ian Curtis, (both "Unknown Pleasures" and "Closer" are hailed as seminal classics and essential to serious music collectors of excellent rock) whom committed suicide on the eve of their first ever American tour.
Both Unknown Pleasures and Closer are amazing contrasting to each other, as Unknown Pleasures betrays a progressive punk band in the vein of Damo Suzuki era Can and Closer a more sleeker but darker band sort of like a gothic Doors.
The album Substance is compilation of singles and album edits that unlike most greatest hits or singles collections, Substance actually portrays a progression of a band that on the surface might have seemed like a plain ordinary punk band with songs like openers "Warsaw" and the furious "Leaders of Men" which was the band at their most aggressive, but towards the end of Joy Division's tenure, the group's sound was becoming more synth oriented, eventually the album's closer, the moody "Love Will Tear Us Apart" would become a synth-pop anthem and one of the most often covered songs of the era.
Not a single wasted moment within Substance, Ian Curtis's David Bowie/Jim Morrison vocals would become more haunting with each track, Bernard Sumner Ronson-like fret work giving way to the use of more synthesizers, the innovative bass work of Peter Hook is as great as what Mick Karn was doing in Japan and Stephen Morris's powerhouse drumming in vein of a punk influenced Jaki Leibezeit, which would mend together to produce classics like "She's Lost Control", "Transmission", "Autosuggestion" are but a few of the songs off of Substance that proved why this band was the greatest and most innovative band of their era.
In closing, the surviving members of Joy Division would continue on adding drummer Stephen Morris's then girlfriend and future wife Gillian Gilbert on synthesizers and guitars, and would become the definitive synth-pop, New Order, but all future success would be for naught had it not been in their brief tenure with the mercurial, seizure prone lead singer, whom chose to take his life, but leaving a legacy that cemented him as one of the greatest singers of his time.