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Dead Can Dance - Anastasis CD (album) cover


Dead Can Dance

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3 stars A good return to form after 16 years, considering their two crumby 'World Music' albums from the mid 90's.. This hits all the right marks but is without the all encompassing darkness of 'Within the Realm...'

'Anastasis' sounds Turkish with spatterings of Western Gothic thrown in throughout. Maybe this is the problem... It's almost like they're trying so hard to emulate the sound of yesteryear but end up being a mish-mash of both.

Brendan Perry sounds über cool with his almost drunk-like singing during the opener 'Children of the Sun'. He has that 'Frank Sinatra, Scott Walker' crooning thing going on after drinking half a bottle of whisky, that I'm more than happy to listen to all day.

I have to admit that I find Brendan Perry's booming vocals more appealing than Lisa Gerrard's throughout this album, where he's accompanied by strings, French Horns and keyboards and lends a definite gravitas to proceedings.

Lisa Gerrard sounds like she always does. She may have a poweful and original voice - but sings like she's playing it by numbers here.

Fans of 'Darkwave' music will no doubt love this. Spellbinding tingly production in the '4AD' style, garnered together with gravelly vocals from Brendan Perry and deep bass make this an applaudable return to form. It's just a a pity it doesn't have that 'Nuclear armageddon gloominess' of 'Within the Realm' or 'The Serpent's Egg' feel going on. Still, it's probably their best album since then.

'Anastasis' (which is Greek for 'Resurrection) is a bit shapeless in the greater scheme of things. It begins and go's on in a similar vein throughout. Thankfully the mighty Brendan Perry rescues the day with his hugely reverbed baritone crooning which harks back to Dead Can Dance's good old days from '85-'86.

Report this review (#825214)
Posted Thursday, September 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After a 16 year break, this album is the "comeback" album for the team of Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard. Though Lisa had been traveling quite a successful path as a solo artist and soundtrack composer (with award-winning contributions to Insider, Ali, Gladiator, and Whale Rider as well as lauded collaborations with Klaus Schulze). The album opens with the stunning duo of 1. "Children of the Sun" (15/15) (on the short list for 2012 Song of the Year) and 2. "Anabasis" (14.5/15), this latter song establishing a trend of Middle Eastern-influenced or -sounding songs that permeates most of the album. Nowhere is Lisa's incredible vocal talent in question, it is in the band's choices of computer-driven percussion tracks and loops or the quality of the computer-generated Middle Eastern instrumental sounds samples that sometimes bring the album's overall feel and effect "down."

3. "Agape" total exploration of Middle Eastern sounds with Lisa's vocalise playing right into the mood (13/15)

4. "Amnesia" a very cinematic spie movie-themed melody over which Brendan takes a turn at the lead vocal. (8.25/10)

5. "Kiko" a long, simple, and monotonous attempt at a Middle Eastern sound. (12.5/15)

6. "Opium" Brendan's turn. The deeper, darker sound, and percussion tracks work on this one--the strings banks from the computer keyboard, too. (8.75/10)

7. "Return of the She-King" opens with computer-bagpipes and evolves slowly into a beautiful exposé of Celtic stylings. (13.25/15)

8. "All in Good Time" opens with bare bones and Brendan's heart-felt vocal. Stunning. Great melodies and textures. Almost like an old-fashioned crooner's ballad. Me like. (9/10)

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of atmospheric progressive world music.

Report this review (#843886)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#861964)
Posted Sunday, November 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I didn't rate the last two studio albums of Dead Can Dance's original run especially highly, because after the excellent Aion I felt that the creative partnership between Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry was becoming visibly frayed. Rather than emanating from a duo working in unison to a common musical vision, the albums in question felt like two solo artists working side by side to distinct and different ends, awkwardly cramped together in the same musical project out of inertia.

How pleasing, then, to find that Anastasis finds Dead Can Dance having a creative reconciliation of sorts. returning to the studio to create new material not because they're aftert a quick cash-in but because they clearly have a common musical goal to attain. Somewhat more sober and wistful than the band's earlier work, Dead Can Dance might be mellower after the passage of time, but they're still playing a tune I can dance to.

Report this review (#1149486)
Posted Monday, March 17, 2014 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars After a long break, DCD return with the two main players/performers still true to form, almost as if they never took a break. This seems to me to be a more mature work. The tracks are also completely fleshed out, there are no short compositions here. The shortest one is Opium at almost six minutes. Because of this, the entire album does not seem as choppy as others. However, the overall effect from this results in a more "same-y" feel than in past albums. This is not a big negative for the album though. There seems to be a little more safeness to the tracks also. The progressiveness has been toned down somewhat throughout this recording, however, the beautiful orchestration on this makes up for that. When you listen to this, there is no doubt as to who you are listening to. I have to agree with the other reviewers here, that it seems this is a slight step back from their previous progressiveness. But, I would encourage fans to get this album because you will still love it, there are still some wonderful highlights here, especially in the last two tracks. In "Return of the She-King", Lisa's vocals seem a lot fuller and it works well for that track. Brendan's vocals in "All in Good Time" are some of the most soulful I have heard from him for quite a while. Beautiful and simple describes the last track, but not simple boring, not at all. Simple yet expressive and complex in it's own right. Definitely an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection, but not quite at that "essential" rating. Welcome back DCD, you've been missed. May there be many more albums to come!
Report this review (#1279241)
Posted Thursday, September 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well a different Style by it self Lisa Gerrard amazing voice ,a musical instrument of the voice (no words but sound) this is on the smooth side of the progressive music this album bring what I like the most of Dead Can Dance the sound of meditative profound experience that only Gerrard bring ( thier are a lot of other one but she is herself in this style )( if your looking for hard to find music [email protected] ) I saw Dead Can Dance at St Denis theater she was 10 feet from me Wow This album is more related to the kind of soundtrack ( Gladiator ) but I love it Pierre
Report this review (#1304680)
Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2014 | Review Permalink

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