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Leeds, 1980. Amid the violence and decay, the city was home to an extraordinarily vibrant post-punk scene. Out of that swamp crawled the Sisters of Mercy. Over the next five years, they would rise from local heroes to leading alternative band, before blowing apart on the verge of major rock stardom. Their path was strewn with brilliant singles, astonishing EPs, exceptional album tracks and legendary live shows. Two classic line-ups were created and destroyed: Andrew Eldritch on vocals, Craig Adams on bass, Gary Marx and Ben Gunn – later replaced by Wayne Hussey – on guitars, and a drum machine called Doktor Avalanche. Hussey and Adams styled themselves as the Evil Children and played hard both on and off the stage; neither Gunn nor Marx were natural rock 'n' roll animals, but the latter performed with such abandon that it was hard to believe he also wrote the Sisters' most delicate and beautiful music. Eldritch was the most peculiar and compelling of them all, a singular and mesmerising amalgam of T. S. Eliot and David Bowie who staked a powerful claim to be the greatest rock star of his generation.

Drawing on dozens of interviews with band members and key figures in the Sisters' journey, Paint My Name in Black and Gold is the most complete account yet of how – against the odds and all reasonable expectation – these young men came to make transcendent and life-changing music.

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