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Dead Can Dance - Anastasis CD (album) cover

ANASTASIS

Dead Can Dance

 

Prog Folk

3.68 | 83 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The album title means something like 'resurrection', an appropriate choice for a band more or less inactive since the end of the last millennium. It's a welcome reunion after sixteen years away from the recording studio, but at the same time hardly an advance from what the duo had already achieved previously.

Fans may be comforted to hear the DCD formula unchanged after all these years. There was always a separate-but-equal duality to their music, and the new album likewise balances the impossibly lush, symphonic songs of Brendan Perry against the cinematic Third World soundscapes of Lisa Gerrard, the latter featuring her soaring voice as their primary instrument.

A not unpredictable Middle and Near Eastern vibe prevails throughout the odder named tracks: "Anabasis", "Agape", "Kiko". Elsewhere the Brendan Perry numbers highlight a typically huge orchestral sound, most of it synthetic but entirely convincing, and perfectly matched to the rich baritone of his vocals. "Children of the Sun" is the standout example, a dramatic curtain-raiser despite the starry-eyed New Age lyrics, enough to make even Jon Anderson blush.

Neither Perry nor Gerrard has lost a step since 1996, but their musical passions are on a tighter leash now. Maybe it's an indication of age and maturity (both artists are in their early 50s), but the new album shows surprising restraint, never breaking free of its measured pace and majestic tempos (except in the slightly more energized but paradoxically titled "Opium"). There isn't much to distinguish any one track here, even the stately Celtic anthem "Return of the She-King", the album's obvious show-stopper, and notably the only song to feature both principals singing together.

"Anastasis" will likely be remembered as more of a cautious throwback than an assertive step forward. But the album holds together well enough despite the lack of surprise, and it stands as a testament to what a generous application of studio reverb can accomplish. To an old fan the experience can be like visiting with old friends: absence makes the heart grow fonder, so forth.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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