By Ira Robbins
Updated January 15, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Nick Cave and the Birthday Party coaxed lurid drama from ugly Australian guitar noise, influencing a generation of rock & roll antiheroes to search for beauty amid music’s bloody thorns. On this ironically titled retrospective, Hits, they roar, howl, and rail like a preacher on fire, relishing the ecstasy in the agony. A-