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Dead Can Dance

Prog Folk

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Dead Can Dance Garden of the Arcane Delights album cover
3.69 | 33 ratings | 6 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Carnival of Light (3:32)
2. In Power We Entrust the Love Advocated (4:11)
3. The Arcane (3:49)
4. Flowers of the Sea (3:28)

Total Time 15:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Lisa Gerrard / vocals, yang t'chin
- Brendan Perry / vocals, guitar, yang t'chin

- Peter Ulrich / percussion
- Scott Rodger / bass
- James Pinker / soundman

Releases information

12" EP 4AD Records BAD 408 (1984 UK)

Thanks to Seyo for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy DEAD CAN DANCE Garden of the Arcane Delights Music

DEAD CAN DANCE Garden of the Arcane Delights ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DEAD CAN DANCE Garden of the Arcane Delights reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Debut album of DEAD CAN DANCE was followed by this excellent EP containing 4 songs. Lisa Gerrard's voice in Carnival of Light already suggests the future atmospheric, world fusion percussive tapestry. The rest is still rooted in the dark tones and moods of goth rock, where In Power We Entrust and The Arcane are filled with morbid, eerie sounds of monotonous bass rhythms. Brendan's vocal rises up from the ashes of Jim Morrison singing over the music of JOY DIVISION. The cover art depicts a sort of Garden of Eden in negative - an opposite side of Paradise? Highly recommended as a follow-up to Debut, The Garden of The Arcane Delights can be found included as bonus tracks to some CD reissues of Dead Can Dance.


P.A. RATING: 4/5

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars Dead Can Dance were one of those eighties post-punk/goth era bands like Bauhaus and Siouxsie & the Banshees and the Cure and Joy Division that seemed to owe a lot of debts to the punk movement but whose music didn’t echo that genre’s cultural or political sensibilities. It’s really only a product of time (a quarter-century actually) that has recast Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard as anything resembling ‘progressive folk’. In their day about the only place you’d hear this music besides on your own turntable was in a goth club or late at night on open-minded college radio stations.

All that said, it is great music and Gerrard’s voice is always a treat to hear. She’s an alto I guess – a deeper voice than most women is all I know, and her Irish lilt has a tendency to make her sound even younger than she was at the time (early twenties). Brendan Perry was a former punker, but with Dead Can Dance the musical arrangements are very well thought-out and carefully executed to maximum emotional effect; Perry clearly is working very hard to control one’s experience when listening to his music.

This little EP came out shortly after the debut album, which I actually don’t remember. I do remember ‘Spleen & Ideal’ which followed this one. If I’m not mistaken the debut did fairly well but not great on release, and EPs were a popular way at the time to put something inexpensive on the shelves as a teaser. That’s what this 12” was I suspect, as you could have picked it up for about $6 USD or so when it first came out.

There are only four tracks here but each of them is solid. “In Power we Entrust the Love Advocated” reminds me just a bit of the Cure, mostly because it’s pretty gothic and Perry does all the vocals and sounds not unlike Robert Smith. “The Arcane” is the marquee track and features Perry’s Casper-the- friendly-ghost vocals again but softened and given some depth with Gerrard’s throaty accompaniment. Gerrard plays that Oriental hammered dulcimer on all the tracks, something she did throughout most of the life of the band. Not sure if that’s because she can’t play anything else or because they actually think this add to the music’s vibe, but really it’s the guitar and percussion that make the music on all these tracks.

“Flowers of the Sea” has a synthesized riff that persists throughout and sounds like a bagpipe to give this either a martial or a Celtic tone, depending on your perspective. Either way the track seems ever so slightly out-of-place although it is a decent Dead composition.

This isn’t a masterpiece for sure but it is definitely required listening for Dead Can Dance fans and would be a good and reasonably-priced inclusion to most prog folk fans’ collections. Four stars (which might be a tad on the high side but justified in my mind) and well recommended.


Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Garden of the Arcane Delights is an EP released by Dead Can Dance in 1984. This EP was released after the debut album and shows some improvement over that album. If you already got the debut album on CD you wonīt need to use your time searching for this rare EP as the four tracks are included on the CD version of the debut.

Dead Can Dance is a two piece band that consist of Brendan Perry on vocals and guitar and Lisa Gerrard on vocals. The rest of the musicians are hired help. The style they played on the debut album and on this EP is dark early eighties rock in the vein of Fields of the Nephilim, Joy Division, The Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus but with an ethnic twist as Lisa Gerrardīs vocal style is very influenced by middle eastern techniques.

There are four songs on Garden of the Arcane Delights and they are all very good but I especially enjoy In Power We Entrust The Love Advocated and The Arcane where Brendan Perry sings lead vocals. These two songs deserve a 4 star rating but the more ethnic sounding Carnival Of Light and Flowers Of The Sea do drag this down to a 3 star rating from me. This is only because Iīm not that excited about the ethnic part of Dead Can Dance sound though. Like on the debut the drums are played by a drum machine which is an aquired taste, but itīs allright IMO.

The sound quality is just a notch better than on the debut which means that itīs still not very good.

Garden of the Arcane Delights is a really enjoyable EP that is very recommendable if you like dark early eighties rock.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This EP was released shortly after the debut album and is in fact included in later released versions of the debut album being combined with it. In my opinion, putting the two albums together takes away from the impact of the first album and the last track on the debut album ends up becoming not as significant. But this review is for the EP on it's own. To me, it doesn't sound quite as cohesive as the debut album, but then it is a EP afterall. The production is definitely improved over the debut, but still not as good as what we would get on future albums. Instruments start to stand out a little more now and the vocals are a lot clearer. The individual songs have more personality than on the debut album and they don't have the "wall of sound" feeling that I felt on the previous release. However, nothing really stands out here again. Even though you hear a slight progression towards what was to become their trademark sound, this EP still has the goth-rock sound. Even if the individual songs are more interesting, as a whole I don't consider this work as important to their overall discography as the debut album. The last track, "Flowers of the Sea", with a little better production, could have easily fit on the next album however, and because of that, this EP serves as a great link to the progression of the band's music.
Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars DEAD CAN DANCE found their break in London in early 1984 when they were signed to 4AD Records which released their eponymously titled debut in February. The band started out completely differently than what they would become known for. On the first album, the band was more in sync with bands like The Cure and The Cocteau Twins as they delivered a unique blend of gothic rock mixed with dream pop and 80s underground alt rock techniques, however hiding in the nooks and crannies were plenty of the ethnic influences that would dominate their later albums and help define them as one of the most original bands of all the 80s.

As if they were chomping on the bit to head in that direction, the band which was now dominated by the prevailing creative forces of the duo Gerrard and Perry, released an EP in August of the same year. This one took its name from the last track of the debut album and thus GARDEN OF THE ARCANE DELIGHTS was born. While the debut album debuted some of the band's signature traits, this one debuted another: highly symbolic features that take their meaning from mythology, history and natural law. The cover art was created by Perry represents a deep nebulous concept of primal man grasping for knowledge in the garden only to be set off course by a serpentine adversary.

Stylistically, GARDEN OF THE ARCANE DELIGHTS follows the debut in every way. Gerrard and Perry trading off vocals on different tracks with Gerrard's sounding like The Cocteau Twin's ethereal dream pop and Perry's sounding like an alt rock version of Frank Sinatra. This EP only contains four tracks and were probably intended to be tacked onto the debut album if technology of the day would have permitted, however with the advent of the compact disc, this one has indeed appeared as the ending of the debut full- length. This one follows suit also with the ethnic touches inserted with the most prominent coming from the finale "Flowers Of The Sea" with a thundering procession of congas and the Chinese yangqin, which is a trapezoidal hammered dulcimer derived from the Iranian santur.

The EP is a bridge of sort as it deemphasizes the Gothic rock dominance of the debut and puts more focus on the dreamier etheric touches of Gerrard's diva gymnastics and the thick otherworldly atmospheric touches. This is another one that i find underappeciated as it clearly finds an interesting timeline between two distinct phases of the band's career but despite being an in-between sort of thing, is still extremely beautiful to listen to. Luckily this was simply attached to the end of my debut album on a beautifully remastered CD but even if it wasn't i would spend the time and effort to hunt this down because it is a beautiful listening experience that i never tire of. Every bit as good as anything else DEAD CAN DANCE have released. Just different.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The Garden of the Arcane Delights EP - most easily available as a bonus on recent editions of Dead Can Dance's self- titled debut album - is a crucial piece in the group's discography, offering as it does a bridge between their debut, oriented as it more towards a more conventional gothic rock style, and their more ethereal darkwave sound that they would pioneer for the rest of their career.

For anyone wishing to puzzle out why Spleen and Ideal sounds so different from their debut, this is the missing link. Album opener, Carnival of Light, would not have sounded out of place on any of their subsequent 1980s albums, whilst In Power We Entrust the Love Advocated would almost be a more conventional gothic rock piece were it not for the unusual use of percussion. The rest of the EP waves in this borderland region between the group's past and its future.

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