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Dead Can Dance

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Dead Can Dance A Passage In Time album cover
3.39 | 36 ratings | 3 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Saltarello (2:36)
2. Song of Sophia (1:23)
3. Ullyses (4:53)
4. Cantara (5:52)
5. The Garden of Zephirus (1:19)
6. Enigma of the Absolute (4:12)
7. Wilderness (1:23)
8. The Host of Seraphim (6:17)
9. Anywhere Out of the World (5:05)
10. The Writing on My Father's Hand (3:50)
11. Severance (3:21)
12. The Song of the Sybil (3:45)
13. Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book (6:03)
14. In the Kingdom of the Blind The One-Eyed are Kings (4:09)
15. Bird (5:00)*
16. Spirit (4:59)*

Total Time 64:17

Line-up / Musicians

- Lisa Gerrard / vocals, multi-instruments
- Brendan Perry / vocals, multi-instruments
with various guest musicians

Releases information

CD Rykodisc RCD-20215 (1991 USA)
2 tracks* previously unreleased

Thanks to Seyo for the addition
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DEAD CAN DANCE A Passage In Time ratings distribution

(36 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DEAD CAN DANCE A Passage In Time reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars A passage In Time is DCD's first compilation and all the same also DCD's first release proper in North America. So logically, this compilation was mostly axed at the newer NA fans having just discovered the group after their first New World tour, which was highly successful, even more surprising that Aion was not released in the US at the time. So logically, APIT concentrates on AION (5 tracks) and on Serpent's Egg (6 tracks), while previous works (Dying Sun >> 2 tracks & Spleen >> just one) that have gone almost irrelevant by now are just merely presented.

Their debut is completely shunned (thankfully) and the group also added two tracks that were recorded for this release precisely, thus not making this a pure compilation. Surprisingly enough these two "bonus" tracks are very different from the rest of the compilation, the first, Bird, expanding into World or Ethnic music, which hints at their future works, but up to that track, there wasn't much to lead in that direction. The closing Spirit, however goes right back to their Gothic post punk days, done with better taste and evoking The Cult's debut album, Love.

On the whole, this compilation tried to pull an honest overview of DCD's progression to their actual stage of medieval music, but tend to under-feature their other penchants for Gothic or Ambient. Not that it should deter you from getting it as perfect intro to DCD's universe provided you are aware of the full discography and their constant evolution.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars This is just way too pastoral for my tastes. In fact, I'll go as far as saying this band is much closer to new age (gasp!) than prog.

The majority of the songs on this collection are very light faux world music, mostly done with Middle Eastern music as the primary influence. The vocals are light and fluffy, and so is most of the music. A few of the selections are more upbeat, but not terribly interesting to me. Some, especially the opening track, "Saltarella", sound like the background music for a scene where a blue, nearly naked girl dances around Captain Kirk.

I know faux world music was extremely popular for a while in the 80s and 90s. Quite a few pop stars on the decline kept their careers afloat riding this wave. But this style usually bores me.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As I've pointed out before, Dead Can Dance is one of those bands of which it completely eludes me why they have been added to this site. They were icons of the post-punk / new wave movement in the 80's and in my time, that generation was all about being as anti-prog as possible. Of course, things luckily changed a bit since then.

So when following the rating logic strictly, one can never rate them above 3 stars. I find this to be very ironic: add a band to a prog site where they don't belong and then penalize them with low ratings because they are not prog... No, DCD has been added to this site so I will assume they must be prog in one way or another and will rate them for their intrinsic qualities.

Right, now that I've made my point again, let's look at this fine compilation. By the time of its release, DCD had already made five albums that covered a wide range of styles: starting from eerie goth rock, purifying that into gothic church music, and evolving towards pagan medieval songs and ethnic renaissance. This compilation focuses on the last two albums with just a few tracks from album 2 and 3 and none from the debut (one of my favorites though, but it wouldn't have fit in here very well)

Even though the compilation takes a lot of tracks from the medieval Aion (which I liked less); by balancing them against their other influences, they work very well here. There are also 2 tracks written especially for this compilation and they hint at things to come. The extra track Bird precedes the ethnic influences that would prevail in the coming years, Spirit is both a stylish nod to their goth rock past and a foretaste of the psychedelic-tinged tracks Brendan Perry would create for the subsequent album Into the Labyrinth.

Conclusion, this compilation covers the wide array of styles that DCD had evolved through till then and would explore later. As such it is the best possible introduction into the enchanting realm of their larger then life musical magic. DCD defies all trivial genre definitions. This band is 5 stars whatever box you wish to confine them to.

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