WTF?! Wednesdays: Diamanda Galas – Plague Mass (1991)

The sad story of the first wave of AIDS-related deaths is certainly well-documented. In Randy Shilts’ And The Band Played On, the callous disregard for human suffering is most difficult to take.

It was a time when some of us felt like we really didn’t know that was going on. Or maybe we didn’t even care. Galas takes on that whole time with a powerful, nearly unhinged vocal performance.

I owned a copy of this for quite some time after the initial release, purchased on the strength of many recommendations from the John Zorn mailing list. To be honest, I really didn’t know what to think. Galas lets the pain and agony out with full force.

A while later, I saw the documentary Silverlake Life: The View From Here. Galas’ howls seemed minimal in comparison.

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to, and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at
Mark Saleski
  • dolores koloyero

    Well, if the point of your article is to say that Galas is not the real item,
    why did you mention it? I think you might want to qualify your switch