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Dead Can Dance - Spleen And Ideal CD (album) cover

SPLEEN AND IDEAL

Dead Can Dance

 

Prog Folk

3.46 | 73 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TCat
4 stars Now, Dead Can Dance has decided to make it their mission to bring old world music to life in the current age. The first album and EP were both goth rock with a very dark feel, yet ambitions were evident throughout these albums. Gerrard and Perry decide with their 2nd full length album to establish their signature sound that they would expand on throughout their career. They start us on their musical journey with "De Profundus" which is a prelude to their sound. Gerrard leads this with her amazing vocals and the bombastic sound of the music makes us feel we are preparing for some enormous event. This is progressive at it's best and most inventive. We are taken unashamedly into a new (or old) realm that is completely their own. The 2nd track "Ascension" is mostly instrumental and follows in the same vein as the first track, building suspense and atmosphere. Next comes "Circumradient Dawn" which has beautiful vocals from Gerrard again. For the first time, we can really hear what she can do with her voice. It doesn't matter whether we can understand her words, her voice is at the forefront and not buried so much in layers of goth instrumentals. I only wish this track was longer and more developed, but it's amazing just to hear what we hear. Next Perry takes the lead vocals with English lyrics and we hear for the first time his voice at the forefront, not buried in layers of instruments. He sounds like Jim Morrison but with more finesse and less bombastic. Another excellent track. Now we know what we are dealing with, creativity and originality, and that is we can expect for the rest of our journey with Dead Can Dance throughout their albums. Old world music with old world instruments and new world programming. It works well. As the album continues, you will notice that no longer do we have a wall of sound as we did in the previous albums but everything is so much more textured. You don't have to pay so much attention to hear everything that is going on in the music because it is all there to listen to, but you will still want to pay attention and soak in every sound that is being made here. The music still retains that dark tone yet it is uplifting in it's own way. Now the production has texture. It no longer feels like you are running up against a brick wall, but that all the instruments and sounds are distinct. Even then, every time you listen to this, you will hear new things. "Advent" stands out among these tracks with a nice percussive and bass line. Perry's vocals are at times dissonant clashing with the instruments on purpose only to bring the melody back into focus. He maneuvers his voice around the atmospheric background with finesse so that you know the dissonance is there for a reason. In "Avatar", Gerrard gives us a taste of her amazing middle Eastern sounding vocals with her acrobatic pitch changes and her controlled warbling. Again, the instrumentals highlight the vocals and also bring the song to a climax making this song feel a lot more developed. If you listen closely you can hear just how elaborate the instrumentals are even if they are only providing the backbone for the song, a foreshadowing of how their music will develop later on. This album focuses more on the vocal talents of Gerrard and Perry. Even though the instrumentals are interesting and excellently played, they serve for creating the atmosphere of the music and for backing up the vocals. More instrumental exploration will follow in later recordings. One shortcoming of this album is that most of the songs seem underdeveloped, except for "Avatar" which is a very satisfying track. Further exploration will remedy this problem in later recordings. Overall however, this is an excellent album and prog lovers should give this one a lot of attention.
TCat | 4/5 |

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