Inspired by England’s ’80s goth scene, where sepulchral vocals and horror-show theatrics coalesced around enough hairspray to punch a hole in the ozone, Christian Death was ground zero for American death rock. Their name, originally a goof on “Christian Dior,” became a mission statement, particularly when group ownership shifted from former frontman Rozz Williams to current honcho Valor Kand. With Valor at the helm, CD moved through pastoral efforts that evoked the misty grandeur of Echo & the Bunnymen to a blasphemous assault on the religious right. Valor’s crusade culminated in the kitschy and perverse cover of their 1988 LP, Sex and Drugs and Jesus Christ, which depicted the Messiah shooting heroin. Enraging evangelicals is admittedly shooting fish in a barrel, and for abrasive outrage CD had nowhere else to go but into the cauldron of over-driven metal. This move robbed CD of their tunefulness and buried their frequently witty lyrics. (For the record, Valor is not so much anti-Christ as opposed to the hypocrisy of organized religion.) In recent concerts, CD have scaled back the metal, uncovering their post-punk propulsion and solid song craft.