In my opinion most post punk bands released their best work in the earlier part of their careers. The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cocteau Twins and Killing Joke spring to mind.
The Sisters of Mercy were no different and this compilation pulls together the singles and EPs from 1980 to 1983 that were previously only available on vinyl.
The group's sound is characterized by Andrew Eldritch's deep voice, cynical lyrics and stripped down rock sound. The minimal drum machine rhythms and Craig Adams distorted bass drive the songs forward with real purpose. The guitar playing throughout is stripped back only kicking in where necessary.
I personally much prefer this period of the band to the later more commercial records. I just feel that the early records have more menace, intensity and atmosphere despite the smaller recording budget. I find Floodland a little overblown at times and Vision Thing never really did it for me.
Most of the tracks are really strong particularly Alice, Floorshow, Body Electric and Burn. Temple of Love is perhaps too long and I'm not sure about their cover of "Gimme Shelter" but the rest are very enjoyable.
I grew out of "Goth" years ago but this collection still has something about it. My only big complaint is that they should have extended the time period to include the "Body and Soul" EP as this included an excellent version of Body Electric plus a chilling track called "Afterhours".