By Christophe Lorentz
It was thanks to the second wave of cold and darkness that swept through rock in the early 90s that Corpus Delicti came to life in Nice, France – a city better known for its beaches and carnival than for its music scene, Corpus Delicti made it the exception!
In the midst of a dark music revival (then known as "dark wave"), the quartet made a strong impression with their first album "Twilight" in 1993. Carried by an evocative and distinctive voice in which Bowie's influence was already evident, the group’s melodic and hard-hitting Gothic rock fused the best of the great alumni of the genre (Bauhaus, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Christian Death, The Cure) with an energy, creativity and sense of melody that quickly allowed them to stand out from the second-rate bands that were starting to appear in Europe at that time.
Corpus Delicti not only had sound and songs, they had style and personality. They had their look worked out (distinctively Goth but without being outrageous), and they had the presence of the iconic Roma on drums, the undeniable charisma of the singer Sebastien, the inventiveness of the guitarists (first Franck, then Jerome), and Chrys' impeccable bass lines.
With their perfect alchemy, the combo’s prolific output gave rise to three remarkable albums (“Twilight”, then “Sylphes” in 1994 and “Obsessions” in 1995). These successes took them on tour to Europe and then the United States, with the tenors of the new dark international scene of the moment (Das Ich, Faith and the Muse and Rosetta Stone), signed to European and American labels.
But the fires that burn brightest do not burn longest. Falling prey to the conflicts that sometimes happen between band members, Corpus Delicti broke up in 1997. Except for Roma, all members remained active, either in solo projects or in other groups (Kuta, Curl, Kom-Intern, Press Gang Metropol). During this time, the cult around Corpus Delicti still continued to grow, thanks to a community of loyal and connected fans around the world.
Rediscovered today by a younger audience, the group is regularly ranked in the Top 10 must-haves of Gothic rock around the world. The Sens Critique site even ranks them among the 35 essentials of the genre – the only French band to be quoted alongside The Cure, Bauhaus or Joy Division – and states that "their second album is a masterpiece of the genre". The Italian music magazine Ascension speaks of them as "a most incredible mix of Bowie, Bauhaus and Christian Death", and the band is the only French group to be quoted by the reference site Postpunk.com as one of the essential artists of the genre.
A complete biography, “Corpus Delicti - La Déliquescence des Ombres” by Tony Leduc-Gugnalons was published by the French publisher Camion Blanc in 2011. As of 2022, the titles of Corpus Delicti have more than one million views on YouTube and around 80,000 plays per month on Spotify – a number that's increasing every month.
Galvanised by the continued fascination of an ever-growing audience, international requests to play on stage, and a post-punk revival which reveres them as examples, the original members of Corpus Delicti (Sebastien on vocals, Franck on guitar, Christophe on bass guitar and Roma on drums), returned to the rehearsal room, eager to satisfy a new following who’ve only discovered them since they broke up in the 90s.
Immediately the 23 years void disappeared, and the pleasure of playing together returned along with the alchemy that has made the quartet one of the leading figures of French post-punk. Sadly, Covid 19 forced the band to postpone its planned projects; during that time Roma was unfortunately diagnosed with osteoarthritis on both hands so was no longer able to play.
Due to the incredible feedback received since their reunion, the band has taken the decision to return to the stage anyway. They will bring Corpus Delicti back to life with Laurent Tamagno on drums, who has played with Hannah and M83, and toured worldwide. Laurent and Roma have worked hard together to keep the spirit of the songs as close to the originals as possible, with fantastic results. Corpus Delicti will only be playing a limited number of concerts, which are not to be missed - come and judge for yourself!.