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Dead Can Dance

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Dead Can Dance Into The Labyrinth album cover
4.00 | 163 ratings | 10 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Yulunga (Spirit Dance) (6:56)
2. The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove (6:16)
3. The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2:50)
4. The Carnival Is Over (5:28)
5. Ariadne (1:54)
6. Saldek (1:07)
7. Towards The Within (7:06)
8. Bird (5:00) *
9. Tell Me About The Forest (You Once Called Home) (5:42)
10. The Spider's Stratagem (6:42)
11. Spirit (4:59) *
12. Emmeleia (2:04)
13. How Fortunate The Man With None (9:15)

* Absent from CD editions

Total time 65:19

Line-up / Musicians

- Lisa Gerrard / performer
- Brendan Perry / performer, producer

Note: The actual full instrumentation cold not be confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: "Hands Of The World" by Touhami Ennadre

2xLP 4AD ‎- DAD 301 (1993, UK)
2xLP 4AD ‎- DAD 3621 (2016, UK) Remastered by Neal Harris

CD 4AD ‎- CAD 3013 CD (1993, UK) Less 2 tracks than on LP editions
CD 4AD ‎- CAD 2711 CD (2008, UK) Remastered by Neal Harris

Thanks to seyo for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DEAD CAN DANCE Into The Labyrinth ratings distribution

(163 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

DEAD CAN DANCE Into The Labyrinth reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Dark Ethnic Magic!

One of the most intriguing albums I have recently delved into, 'Into the Labyrinth', catches the listener by surprise. A mixture of dark ethnic/indie and atmospheric medieval music enters the room and distorts your silence... Beautiful melodies give their place to ethereal vocals and eastern traditional folk music passages.

Psalms and dark keyboards open the way to this album, followed by a captivating eastern beat... Truly a 'Spirit Dance'. Perry's dark vocals are introduced in 'Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove' where modern indie rhythms keep up this 'ancient Babylon' feeling. The voice of Lisa Gerrard then changes completely the feeling with 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley', which sounds like a traditional Irish folk story; a track that consists only of a beautiful female voice without the need of a musical background.

Inspiring keyboard melodies flow throughout 'The Carnival is Over' and Perry once again dresses the track with melancholic, bluesy vocals. This track shows the diversity in the album, which perfectly combines folk and indie rhythms with more modern sounds. 'Ariadne' and 'Saldek' are small intervals with brilliant female vocals, the first being melodic and the second more traditional with chord instruments at the background. Indian drumbeats and folklore psalms compose 'Towards the Within' where influences from Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa mix with obscure keyboards.

Electronic sounds and medieval keyboards are introduced in 'Tell me about the Forest' and 'The Spider's Stratagem' where Perry's strong gothic tone in the first alters with Gerrard's ethereal melodies in the second. Vocal forces combine in beautiful 'Emmeleia', an interval that sounds like a melancholic prayer. Perry reminds as 'How Fortunate the Man With None', a perfect ending for this album with a charming melody, leaving the listener skeptic with its strong lyrics.

Stories about true love and death, nature, pride and greediness lay on a musical background of (deep breath.) ambient, electronica, folk and Celtic sounds, indie, medieval, pop, ethnic, blues. This is not progressive rock but has all the elements that would intrigue a progressive music fan.

Ultimate standouts: The Wind that Shakes the Barley, How Fortunate the Man With None. 1 star for each of these attributes: melody, atmosphere, diversity, innovation, magic.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars After the resounding success of Aion and its medieval soul, DCD had released their first compilation which would become their first US release and focused on their recent works, but as one of their bonus tracks, Bird, hinted very strongly at world music. It was something they had dabbled a bit into with Serpent's Egg, but there was nothing to prepare us to this ethnic music metamorphosis, unless that Bird track would've whispered you the answer to your hear. One of the consequence of the disappearance of such medieval influences is that the music is much less acoustic, but not really all that electric either, but largely synthesized.

Out of the deep background, a long plaintive voice hesitating between Spanish lament, Arabian prayer and opera style slowly rises out of synth layers, before tabla drums definitely take over and the chants take on a definitive mid-Eastern slant over a jungle animals background and oboe. There is almost a new age feel to Yulunga, partly introduced by the jungle noises, but also the slow monotonous chants and mid-East slant of the music itself, but if all new age music was so eventful, I'd probably be a fan. The following few tracks only go on to confirm the ethnic direction of the album, with the exception of the short Wind That Shares Babies and Tell Me About The Forest, sounding Celtic and medieval respectively, such as Mr Lovegrove with its tabla and sitar hinting at India and Ariadne and Saluck hinting at Maghreb music. As the album moves on, you'll find more of the same hesitations between occidental and oriental realms.

Of a lesser interest to medieval prog folk freaks, although developing another of its facet (ethnic folk), this is exactly the kind of album that got purist of all kinds angry with DCD, and most musicologist would agree that Labyrinth is indeed a good exercise of "batardization" of several genres all meddled into one music as to allow uneducated masses to get into them; a bit like those Nights of The Proms do the same, but called vulgarisation for that cause. In either case, this Labyrinth album is still rather interesting for most into adventurous music, but demanding progheads will not find their happiness.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Into the Labyrinth" is the 6th full-length studio album by Australian/UK world music act Dead Can Dance. The album was released in September 1993. The band opted for a neo-medieval influenced world music approach on "Aion (1990)" but great changes have happened to the band since the release of "Aion (1990)", which have also affected the direction of the bandīs music. While the male part of the two-piece group Brendan Perry opted to live on a small island in Ireland, Lisa Gerrard moved back to Australia with her husband and daughter. This seperation meant that the group were forced to change their approach to making music. Lisa Gerrard travelled to Brendan Perry studio Quivvy Church in County Cavan, Ireland and the two musicians wrote and recorded "Into the Labyrinth" over a period of three months. There are no guest appearances on the album which is the first time on a Dead Can Dance album. Every instrument is played and all vocals are sung by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry.

Into the Labyrinth is quite the interesting Dead Can Dance album to my ears. The ethnic influences are strong in tracks like "Yulunga (Spirit Dance)", the beautiful a capella sung "The Wind That Shakes the Barley", "Ariadne", "Saldek", "Towards the Within", "The Spiderīs Stratagem" and "Emmeleia" while the groupīs goth rock past isnīt totally forgotten in the Brendan Perry led "The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove", "The Carnival Is Over", "Tell Me About the Forest (You Once Called Home)" and the majestic "How Fortunate the Man With None", even though itīs mostly Perryīs vocals that point in that direction. Two of those four mentioned tracks have a couple of borrowed lyric lines from Joy Division songs, which of course further strengthens Dead Can Dance ties to the darker early eighties UK music scene. There is a good balance between the ethnic influences and the subtle rock influences on "Into the Labyrinth" and to my ears itīs the bandīs most artistically successful album. The instrumentation on the tracks are as usual a mix of various organic percussion, traditional ethnic instruments and synths. The mix works excellent here. The Brendan Perry led tracks are highlights to my ears and Iīd like to give a special mention to "The Carnival Is Over". There is a longing, nostalgic and melancholic feeling in that track that greatly appeals to me. "The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove" and "How Fortunate the Man With None" are highlights too but some of the Lisa Gerrard led compositions like "Yulunga (Spirit Dance)" and "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" are also among the highlights of the album and some of the strongest compositions in Dead Can Dance discography.

The sound production needs a very special mention too as this is an absolutely brilliantly produced album. The sound is crystal clear but never looses its organic qualities. A very hard balance to strike yet the group manages to do this to perfection on this self-produced affair. "Into the Labyrinth" is in every way possible a perfect album (gorgeous sound production, excellent musicianship and intriguing songwriting) and in my opinion the peak of the bandīs career. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars UMUR's going to kill me for this rating but I really feel this one is a mixed bag. By the way please read his review because he gives some interesting background info about it. Anyway the first thing I noticed about this album is that it was quite different from what they had done before. Sure there are some similarities with past releases but overall this one seems to offer up some straight forward World Music tracks mixed in with those spiritual ones that Lisa sings on. I would say this is more accessible for the most part as well. This is also the first one i've reviewed that's not thirty some minutes in length, in fact it's over 55 minutes.

"Yulunga (Spirit Dance)" opens with male vocals and when they stop we get some atmosphere. Lisa comes in after 2 minutes. Drums and other sounds follow. Good song. "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove" is very ethnic sounding. Brenden comes in vocally before a minute. This sounds too catchy to be a DCD song. "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" sounds like an Irish Folk song with Lisa singing. Vocals only on this one. "The Carnival Is Over" opens with waves of sound as the keys join in.The tempo picks up before a minute as the sound changes. Male vocals as it settles again. Orchestral-like music joins in later. Not a fan. It blends into "Ariadne". We start to get a beat then Lisa comes in. Good song. "Saldek" is more ethnic sounding with Lisa and percussion.

"Towards The Within" features vocal melodies,percussion and other sounds. The sound of a loon comes in before 5 1/2 minutes and later. "Tell Me About The Forest (You Once Called Home)" is a straight forward track with Brenden singing. "The Spider's Stratagem" opens with drums and percussion as Lisa comes in. A catchy ethnic sounding track. "Emmeleia" has no music just dual vocals. "How Fortunate The Man With None" is a song I first heard being covered by another band (NOEKK). Very cool lyrics to this my favourite track.

3.5 stars.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the medieval statement of Aion, Dead Can Dance took 3 years in between releases and came back with plenty of ideas and inspiration on Into the Labyrinth.

Yulunga is an entrancing opener, full of dark strings, Lisa's Arabesque vocal mannerisms and subtle percussion. The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove is Perry's answer to Lisa's ethnic stylings, it's a singer songwriter oriented psychedelic piece that shows his grown interest in the psychedelic music of '67. Lisa continues with an 18th century Irish traditional. The Carnival is Over contains a few nods to Joy Division's song The Eternal, both in the lyrics and in the music. Despite of my love for Joy Division, this song has never really gripped me. After two short ditties, the album steps up a gear and let's us relish trademark DCD material alternating between Gerrard's ethnic influences and Perry's songwriting Towards the Within is a gentle and moody ethnic piece, Tell Me About the Forest is an enjoyable Perry track with another Joy Division quote. The next track is from Lisa again, showing her ethnic Indian influences. Emmeleia is an amazing a capella duet and How Fortunate The Man is a moody closer, sometimes it sounds slightly repetitive to me, at other times it's really entrancing.

The album gives ample proof that Perry's and Gerrard's musical directions were developing into entirely different directions. Luckily it doesn't create an inconsistent album but makes up for a very diverse and rich experience.

It isn't a perfect album but given its 55 minute length and its level of excellence, this is a recommended Dead Can Dance album. It's not as consistent as Within the Realm of the Dying Sun, but with it wide range of styles, attention for detail and room for instrumental arrangements, it might be the most alluring album for progheads. 3.5 stars

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars A big shift in sound heralds Dead Can Dance's sixth album. This one's far more ethnic without any mediaeval references whatsoever. It's always an admirable thing to hear bands change style, and Dead Can Dance did it more than most during their 12 years, but this doesn't cut the mustard.

Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry play all instruments with no guest musicians at all on 'Labyrinth', unlike previous albums. It's just all too serene and pretty for my liking, although I do still like Perry's vocals enormously. In a way, he sounds like Frank Sinatra!

'Labyrinth' alludes to Greek mythology where Theseus lays the string to find his way back after his encounter with the Minotaur. Strangely, Pete Murphy and Bauhaus on 'In the Flat Field' sang 'Where is the string that Theseus laid' which leads me to the question of the big fight that Perry and Murphy had last year. What on earth's going on with the vendetta between this pair? On the verge of touring together, everything fell apart amidst a sea of vitriol and hatred. How unlikely eh?

'Toward the Within' is excellent - this is where Theseus had to journey to 'the within' to encounter Mr Minotaur. Very middle Eastern sounding with excellent percussion and wind instruments.

The best track 'Emmeleia' is a beautiful choral piece by Perry and Gerrard which unfortunately only lasts two minutes. It's the one time they sound perfect singing in conjunction. Perfect...

On the whole, I'm far happier listening to Brendan Perry on this album. Gerrard's vocals make this a bit of a dreary listen. The power and emotion from '85's 'Spleen and Ideal' to 88's 'Serpent's Egg' has vanished, leaving us with a pretty enough album but seriously lacking in emotional content.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars The great Canadian pan celtic troubadour LOREENA MCKENNITT issued her first major Canadian release "Parallel Dreams" as the 1980s came to a close. Based on the subsequent musical trajectory of both herself and "Dead Can Dance", one might well ask if the two acts shared a common fixation, at least in dream space. By the time of "Into the Labyrinth", both had made clear their interest in world rhythms eclipsed any relation to the celtic diaspora, medieval or otherwise. They both would draw frequently on these roots, but not without propelling themselves dart-like to such far flung venues as Mongolia and sub and super Saharan Africa. The first DCD disk to reenforce the band's commitment to rotating the four corners of this globe on their unique angle of declination was "Into the Labyrinth", and it bears a few remarkable resemblances to McKennitt's "Mask and Mirror". If you like one, you will at least entertain if not adore the other.

The opener "Yulunga", for instance, has Gerrard chanting in a middle Eastern pattern for a fleeting 7 minutes, so spot on is her diction. "The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove" plies a similar furrow even if Perry is responsible this time. The progressive quotient isn't anywhere near the middle of the scale, even if it nonetheless surpasses that of Loreena's work. The wind instruments are arresting in their clarity. Back to Gerrard for the haunting celtic traditional piece "The Wind that Shakes the Barley". This is followed by one of the strongest DCD pieces, "The Carnival is Over", with its nostalgic style reminiscent of a long gone era, and I don't mean the 1960s or 1970s, yet with a scintillating production that betrays its relatively recent vintage. The synthesizers recall the work of COLLAGE from that time period, while Perry sounds not unlike the vocalist for 1980s mellow German prog group ROUSSEAU.

Even when the tracks get shorter and less developed, we still reach auspicious heights with "Ariadne" in which Gerrard virtually invents a devotional language for the folk prog masses. While the near perfecton of the disk is brought down a solid notch by "Towards the Within" and "The Spider's Stratagem", both of which smack of a group trying to figure out how to get from their usual 36 minutes up to 55, and not quite succeeding, the album closer is another top rung keeper, "How Fortunate the Man with None". The longer it persists and repeats, the more it convinces and converts. Truly a masterful ballad that one can drift in and out to, and discover a new message each time out.

Another huge and grown up leap for DCD, "Into the Labyrinth" incorporates the achievements of Aion but modernizes and universalizes them. A delightful disk with the power to a maze.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Dead Can Dance took a break after Aion so that Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard could adjust to their now separate lives. When they reconvened to produce this album, the end result sounds to me like the pet projects of two separate individuals whose tracks happen to be on the same album than the revival of a musical partnership.

Something approaching cohesion is offered by the shift in influences from esoteric medieval music to world music, with a particular focus on traditional music of the Middle East and Mediterranean. But the sharp difference in musical approaches between Gerrard and Perry is more evident than ever; see, for instance, the contrast between the opening Gerrard-dominated track, the ethereal and otherworldly Yulunga (Spirit Dance), and the goth crooning of Perry on the following The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove. It honestly seems to me as though at this point in time Gerrard was firmly interested in soundscapes whilst Perry was more interested in songs, and the divisions between the two are unambiguously clear on Into the Labyrinth. They come up with some good stuff, but they seem to be working together purely out of inertia this time; it would, perhaps, have been better had they just gone off to make separate solo albums.

It's just about saved by the fact that, whilst it's not cohesive as a single album, as a disparate collection of songs it's quite good, and sometimes the stylistic turns and contrasts work quite well. The Wind That Shakes the Barley offers an a capalla folk outing, before the opening of The Carnival Is Over combines mystical medieval folk with Vangelis-esque Blade Runner soundscapes, for example. Take it as two solo EPs mashed together and you will enjoy yourself more - and the range of antique musical styles the duo draw on does genuinely impress.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars With this album, we follow Dead Can Dance into their most mature and developed music. All the brightness that was evident on "Aion" is now gone again. The darkness has returned to this traditional sounding music. The album starts off beautifully with the amazing "Yulunga (Spirit Dance)". Words cannot describe this gorgeous piece of art. Word of advice: put on your headphones when listening to this, turn the volume up, stop doing anything else you are doing and find yourself transported to some other place beyond description. Simply amazing. Right away, you can hear how much more focused everything is on this album. That might be because Gerrard and Perry are doing everything themselves....there are no other musicians (not even guests) on this one, and what results is a beautiful album. The music throughout simply sounds focused and complete. Everything that has been lacking on previous albums is fixed and present on this one. This continues throughout the album. The second track is one that most people should recognize as it was played quite a lot on college radio stations throughout America. Nothing else like this existed back in the early 90s. The voice sounds like Jim Morrison, yet the music sounds nothing like The Doors. The third track is a beautiful vocalization accapella style (with reverb) of a traditional song sung by Lisa in English (!). As the last note fades from this song, the instrumentals start for the next song which leads into vocals by Perry this time. The instrumentals are so much better utilized on this song then what has been utilized by songs led by Perry in the past, even his singing is more soulful especially as it approaches the middle of the piece. There is brightness in the instrumentals here representing the carnival music which is supposed to be happy but there is an underlying doom to the instrumentals also so that you know that all is not well, that we all should be sad that this is the last time the carnival will ever come to this town. There are then two short tracks, one a chant, the other a dance. These tracks actually work well here to balance out the middle part of the album as we go "Towards the Within" which is another amazing track with both Gerrard and Perry singing along with some amazing percussion and interplay amongst instruments. This track harkens back to the 1st track with the same style. The vocals are wordless but the percussion and the mode of the key that the piece is in almost makes it sound like a mix between Native American and Far Eastern traditions. Another amazing track that transports you to another place. The album continues with more amazing tracks as it continues on taking you along on it's journey to far off lands and traditions. It brings you back home on the last track, a long litany sung by Perry in which he seems to remind us that there is poverty throughout the world along with beauty and that we should remember that the people that bring beauty, tradition, and love to the world are the people that have so little, hence "How Fotunate the Man with None". With many prog elements mixed in with world wide traditions, this album should appeal to those people with an open mind to hearing the beauty in different cultures. To tell the truth, the first few times I listened to this album, I wasn't quite so sold on it. Now that I am familiar with the music, I have been able to concentrate on the beauty and complexity of it all. Give this one a chance and listen closely to it. This is an album that should be important to anyone interested in exploring music which should describe most of us prog-heads. Beautiful, well executed, excellent production, amazing vocals and astounding instrumentation make this a solid 5 star must have album.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I LOVED Aion. This is going back to explore more of the Middle Eastern sounds as they began on Serpent's Egg.

1. "Yulunga (Spirit Dance)" (6:56) starts very powerfully with some extraordinary overtone vocals, but then comes down to Earth with the second half and the hand percussion. (13.25/15)

2. "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove" (6:16) despite Brendan's attempt at passionate vocals, it's not believable and the song is nothing very exciting or dynamic. (8.25/10)

3. "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" (2:50) Lisa sings Celtic a cappella. (4.25/5)

4. "The Carnival Is Over" (5:28) Brendan's best song ever! So nostalgic and almost eerily sad! (10/10)

5. "Ariadne" (1:54) Silk Road campfire music. (4.75/5)

6. "Saldek" (1:07) music for Silk Road ablutions--or scarf dance. (4.75/5)

7. "Towards The Within" (7:06) one of the rare songs on which both Lisa and Brendan sing--together, bobbing and weaving with each other--on multiple tracks! When Lisa takes over solo voce in the middle it sounds a bit like OFRA HAZA. (13/15)

8. "Bird" (5:00) * (8.75/10)

9. "Tell Me About The Forest (You Once Called Home)" (5:42) interesting instrumental choices to weave with Brendan's vocal. Not sure they belong together (or if it works). For once the DCD computerized synth sounds sound old and dated. (8.5/10)

10. "The Spider's Stratagem" (6:42) definitely a song projected straight out of Asia Minor or the Arabian world. Lisa is so talented! (8.75/10)

11. "Spirit" (4:59) * musically very similar to Massive Attack's "Teardrop" as well as some fairly recent Cure and U2 work. (9.5/10)

12. "Emmeleia" (2:04) another duet--this one a cappella and sounding very Balkan monastic. Amazingly well executed and recorded! (4.75/5)

13. "How Fortunate The Man With None" (9:15) the only epic-length song on the album opens with very pleasant sound palette and a very strong Brendan Perry vocal. Very cool! The "strings" build out in the fourth minute is perfect. Through two verses and I'm LOVING this! I love how the music keeps shifting beneath the very steady storytelling of Brendan's vocal. Wow! I am shocked at how much I like this one! Really captures some kind of ancient milieu. (20/20)

* Absent from CD editions--they're both good songs that

Total time 65:19

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive World Folk music that has some extreme highs and some relative low points.

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