“Closer” by Joy Division : a stroll into Hell

Let us go on an adventure, my friend. Today, we invite you to take us by the hand and follow us down the nine circles of hell. Tempting, isn’t it ? From the suffocating tribal drums of the first song “Atrocity Exhibition” to the ghostly synthetizers of “Decades”, “Closer”, Joy Division’s second and last album is a masterpiece.

Closer’s tragic birth

Strikingly similar yet so very different from their first opus, the very popish “Unknow pleasures”, “Closer” is a dark gem, the goth twin of the other. It’s also almost a testament, keeping Ian Curtis secrets well guarded. Joy Division lyricist and singer didn’t live to see the success of his album. Sadly, he hung himself two months before the release. One could say the signs of his ill-being were everywhere. The claustrophobic atmosphere, the beautiful desperate lyrics, the anguish lying in the echoes of Ian Curtis’ voice. But it would be a mistake to focus only on him, his poetry being inseparable from his bandmates work.

Every instrument matches perfectly the other in this LP. Peter Hook’s bass is minimalistic, yet omnipresent. His lines are heavily hypnotic, almost making you feel bad. Listen “Passover”, ‘The Eternal” for instance or “Colony”, which is one of our personal favorites. Stephen Morris’ impeccable drums, sometimes raging, always solemn, almost schizophrenic in songs like “Twenty Four Hours”. Last but not least, Bernard Sumner’s synthesizers and guitar are incredible. Listen to “The Eternal” for instance, to appreciate his powerful playing.

An immersion into darkness

It’s really difficult to let go of this album. It’s a real experience, an immersion into the most negative human emotions. It will undoubtfully make you feel as a traveller, waiting in a crypt for the rain to end. This album cannot be played lightly and you will end up marked for life and haunted by its tragic melodies. It’s almost unbelievable to imagine it was written 40 years ago, because this work is still really modern. Our only regret is the mixing of the album could have been better. Still, the emotions are intact.

If you’re in a dark place, you should probably not listen to “Closer” right now. But if you’re up for a experience of a lifetime, jump in the bandwagon and pay a visit to Satan himself. We’ll all go back there anyway. As Ian Curtis says : “This is the way, step inside”.

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