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Esperanto Danse Macabre album cover
3.72 | 63 ratings | 8 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Journey (10:15)
2. The Castle (3:33)
3. The Duel (7:06)
4. The Cloister (5:28)
5. The Decision (5:57)
6. The Prisoner (7:21)
7. Danse Macabre (2:01)

Total time 41:41

Bonus tracks on 2001 release:
8. The Duel (7:00)
9. The Decision (7:19)
10. The Cloister (5:11)

Total Time: 61:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Keith Christmas / lead vocals
- Glenn Shorrock / backing vocals
- Bruno Libert / piano, organ, ARP Odyssey, harpsichord, vibes, backing vocals, arrangements
- Gino Malisan / bass
- Tony Malisan / drums
- Raymond Vincent / violin, arrangements
- Godfrey Salmon / 2nd violin, tenor vocals
- Tony Harris / viola
- Timothy Kraemer / cello

- Bridget Lokelani Dudoit / vocals (3)
- Brian Holloway / guitar (3-5)

Releases information

Artwork: Junie Osaki with Laurence Sackman (photo)

LP A&M Records ‎- AMLS.63624 (1974, UK)

CD A&M Records ‎- PCCY-10177 (1991, Japan)
CD Si-Wan Records ‎- SRMC 5013 (2001, South Korea) With 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy ESPERANTO Danse Macabre Music

ESPERANTO Danse Macabre ratings distribution

(63 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ESPERANTO Danse Macabre reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is the second album from the multi-national band. As you may guess, it has massive violin sounds throughout the album. The opening track "The Journey" is a song heavily influenced by classical music. The intro part may remind you to KEITH EMERSON's solo album with additional note on violin sounds. The piano part is similar. There are many musical breaks with touchy violin melody and/or piano. First listening of this track reminds me to a violin-based classic music. But it's not pure violin instrument that dominates the track as solo piano is performed brilliantly as well. It's a great track!

"The Castle" is a mellow track with touchy and memorable melody. The vocal voice is nice with violin and cello at its background. I really like this track. It reminds me to BABE RUTH's "The Runaway". No drumming in this track. The silent situation is then continued with energetic violin and cello sounds that dominate the intro of third track "The Duel". It's very uplifting track. It represents further explorations of multi- violins and cello used in this album. The composition is like an avant-garde music. If you enjoy this track and observe its detail, you will find it interesting. But if you just play this track while doing other things, you may conclude that this track is too heavy. In the middle of the track there is a dazzling bass played nicely. For me, I find this track very enjoyable as the violin sounds were pushed till its limits.

The fourth track " The Cloister " has a vocal melody in the vein of Rick Wakeman's King Arthur album. The melody is nice. The fifth track "The Decision" is a composition that comprises violins and acoustic guitar in its intro, influenced by blues rock. The acoustic guitar fills are nice and they sound like acoustic guitar sound in "Silent Lucidity" track of QUEENSRYCHE. I know, the later was released in the 80's. Probably this track has inspired QUEENSRYCHE? Well, I don't know. It could be a coincident.

"The Prisoner" (hey, this is not RICK WAKEMAN's "No Earthly Connection" that I love too) is opened by dynamic combination of violin / cello and bass followed by vocal line. Again, it's an excellent track. Wow! I like the violin sounds in this track. It's so stunning!!!! Especially those that accentuate the vocals. Wonderful! There is a simple solo acoustic guitar (?) in the middle of this track. The concluding track "Dance Macabre" is an uplifting and energetic instrumental piece. Stunning violins and cellos combined with organs.

I used to rate this album is second to "The Last Tango". But, having listened to it in greater details, I find that this album deserves a FIVE STAR rating. This rating may apply automatically to those of you who like violin-based rock music such as DAVID CROSS. But, it's different kind of music than JEAN LUC PONTY (that I don't understand why it's not included in this PROG ARCHIVES website. In my opinion, PONTY is prog to the corner. It should be included in this website as well. What do you think?.) - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Talk about a multi-national band ! The members come from Australia, Italy, France, England, Hawaii, New Zealand and Belgium. Peter Sinfield of KING CRIMSON fame produced this record. I really had a tough time at deciding what rating this deserved. Musically it's a four star record, but although it's very impressive it was not that enjoyable for me. I felt a lot of this was pretentious, and i'm not sure if that's a fair statement. I mean these guys are incredible players who display their talents well. Does that mean they are showing off for the sake of showing off ? Anyway there are two violinists who dominate their sound.

"The Journey" is an instrumental with lots of violin. There are extreme contrasts of calm and bombastic passages. There is a beautiful pastoral section 4 minutes in. Lots of piano melodies follow. Great band interplay on this song. "The Castle" is a change of pace with vocals and organ leading the way. "The Duel" sounds like an instrumental fight (Duel) with the violin winning. The vocal melodies are a nice touch and the bass stands out before 2 minutes. Some impressive guitar after 2 minutes while screaming violin and vocal melodies return.

"The Cloister" opens with the wind blowing as the sound builds. This is a great song with outstanding violin and good vocals. The song closes as it began with the wind blowing. "The Decision" has some good acoustic guitar, flute, keys, violin and guitar. This song reminds me of the seventies. "The Prisoner" has some terrific drumming with outbursts of violin that come and go. The violins unite to create a powerful melody later. "Danse Macabre" has some in your face violin and the organ is great. The drums pound away in this excellent closing track. Again I am so impressed with the way these guys play.

Think ELP with the violins replacing the keyboards. Some amazing instrumental workouts on this disc. 3.5 stars.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Very much an improvement on their debut album, Danse Macabre is probably the result of the group's taking their destiny in their own hands. While there were much changes amongst the singing casts, the core of the group remained stable, becoming tighter and musically more interactive. Produced by ex-Crimson Pete Sinfield, this album goes through several states of madness especially when it comes to the string section and it is a concept album. Indeed Raymond Vincent was now leading a four-man string section that was used as the main lead instrument . Starting on the small epic instrumental The Journey a demented trip flying on violin bows and wild paces, we then reach a Castle, a short sung soft and slow track by Keith Christmas. Ensues The Duel, a wild fight between the concerned instruments and some exciting scat choirs and a slight early Crimson influence. The flipside opens on the ecclesiastic and Gregorian The Cloister, but it is all a show, because the track is certainly not as peaceful as its title would have you believe. After an unremarkable Decision, I suppose that the more interesting moments of the Prisoner (those dark slow brooding gothic moments mean that there s some yummy torture, with a little Arabian touch later. The short title track closes the albums with a very weird screechy, almost dissonant violin section showing all signs of losing its marbles musically as they're all over the place. Impressive but perfectible.

What an improvement over the previous album, but then again, wait until their final album to know how much better they could get. In either case, Esperanto's DM is an excellent trip through one of the most visited clichés in the genre. Almost as essential as its follow-up album.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars A dense dance

This multi-national band with among others British and Belgian members released three albums in the first half of the 70's. I didn't know anything about them until recently when I was quite impressed with their third album, Last Tango. This previous album, however, is a far less enjoyable experience for me. While Last Tango was varied and memorable, Danse Macabre is far more dense and impenetrable and does not leave any lasting impression on me. There are no songs here like Painted Lady or the title track from Last Tango. Those more melodic songs brought an appealing diversity to that album that is wholly absent here.

The piano and keyboard work is very similar to that of Keith Emerson and there is a lot of in the opening track, The Journey. The violin work, on the other hand, reminds me of The Mahavishnu Orchestra (Birds Of Fire). Esperanto relies heavily on violin, viola and cello in their sound rather than guitars. There are male and female vocals, but the vocals are not very much to the front - they function mostly as just another instrument. There is no doubt that the musicians involved here are skilled, but instrumental prowess is hardly a guarantee for great music.

Danse Macabre can be a difficult listen and I strongly recommend to start with the much better Last Tango before taking on Danse Macabre.

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars Esperanto's second album reflects both the lineup and scenery changes the band had undergone in the year since releasing their debut. In addition, the group seems to have jelled somewhat following lengthy touring in support of the Strawbs after a less successful pairing with the retro-rockers Sha Na Na. The band found themselves in a Welsh castle for several weeks preparing for this release, and under the tutelage of producer and famed King Crimson lyricist Peter John Sinfield. The results of these changes were immediate and obvious. This album is much more cohesive than the group's first record, and while it is not a theme album or 'rock opera' per se it has a consistency of style and mood that was not present on the prior release. Also, the music is in much more of a progressive vein with majestic string arrangements, wordless vocal accompaniment from the mostly uncredited female singers, and lengthy instrumentals replacing the shorter, soft-rock and dance-oriented numbers on their 1973 release.

Glenn Shorrock departed between the test runs and final production of the album, replaced by the more earthy-sounding Keith Christmas who would himself leave before the band ended its run supporting the release. Sinfield also convinced the band to employ more layered, multi-part vocals here, although instrumentals dominate the work including on the ten minute-plus opening song "The Journey". The group seems to have taken a cue from Camus in the song titling, using simple, direct names such as "The Castle", "The Duel", "The Cloister" and "The Decision". These give the impression of a thematic album, although considering the paucity of lyrics or obvious storyline this appears to have been more of a gimmick than anything else.

The male vocals are less commercial-sounding than the band's prior work, particularly on "The Cloister" and "The Decision", and come across as more operatic and folksy than either the first or last album from the group. The one slight aberration is the closing title track, which manages to blend in a fiddle jig with the driving, rock-based rhythm resulting in a short but energetic tune that sounds as if it may have been influenced a bit by the time the group had spent on the road with the Strawbs.

As with the first record the reissues of this album include bonus tracks, in this case alternate mixes of "The Duel", "The Decision" and "The Cloister". These are generally more lively than the versions that ended up on the vinyl album, although the production is rather spotty and only the extended version of "The Decision" is a noteworthy addition.

Overall this is a better album than the band's debut, mostly due to improved production and a more mature, consistent mood. Sadly the band still didn't manage to make a lasting impression on the buying public which would lead to further lineup changes and eventually the group's demise; however, for progressive music fans this is an interesting album that marks a welcome improvement. Four stars out of five for effort, and a hearty recommendation for fans of most types of progressive music.


Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After ''Rock Orchestra'' was published, Esperanto toured the whole England as a support act to Sha na na, then traveled in Europe next to Strawbs, just before entering a castle in Wales to record a second album.The first tapes were soon recorded, but shortly afterwards Glenn Shorrock returned to Austrtalia, replaced by Keith Christmas, who was introduced to the band by Peter Sinfield.New material was recorded and sent to A&M, but again Esperanto were hit by the departure of the whole female singing trio of Yates, Slater and Dudoit, thus the band appears as an eight-piece group on the covers of the sophomore effort ''Danse Macabre'', released in 1974.

These unfortunate issues did not affect the performance of Raymond Vincent & co., as captured on the long opening ''The journey'' with its strong Classical, Avant-Garde and psychedelic influences, like a mix of CURVED AIR, EAST OF EDEN and RENAISSANCE, led by the furious, scratching violins, the dominant organ waves and the dreamy piano textures.''The castle'' is a lovely BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST-like orchestrated ballad, propably refering to the place of the album's recordings, with ethereal piano and keyboard parts, and both opening tracks actually sum up the whole story of ''Danse macabre'', which from this point on continues and develops around these kind of inspirations.With longer and more progressive compositions, Esperanto's music alternates between sinister instrumental mannerisms with dual violins and piano in the forefront and more easy-going music venues, where even E.L.O. come to mind due to the heavy string sections, with also lighter use of organs and melodic vocal lines by Christmas and plenty of multi-vocal harmonies.Parts of the pieces are heavily leaning towards Classic Prog with nice symphonic-oriented textures, reminding a bit of GENTLE GIANT and GENESIS, like on the nice ''The prisoner''.The last track is inspired by Camille Saint-Saëns eponymous tone poem, delivered in a very short but trully magnificent movement by Esperanto, having a dramatic atmosphere, based on organs, synthesizers and violins.

Definitely a step towards more progressive and adventurous material by this short-lived multi-national ''tiny orchestra''.Well-executed music, with good breaks between calm and darker moods, and delivered with passion.The Si-wan release comes with different versions of three of the album's tracks with Glenn Shorrock on vocals, just before he left the band.Nevertheless, recommended.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Wonderful! Amazing! A masterpiece! I listen the album without references and prejudices. Is a powerful prog music, like a rainbow of feelings. The perfection of the performance its without question the best symphony of progresive music that I have listened in my life. I lived in Mexico and i ... (read more)

Report this review (#77141) | Posted by | Thursday, May 4, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another lost masterpiece in time, a shame, because this record feature the true prog heart: classical music with rock!!!. Since the great opening act "the journey", you can figure this is actually a journey through your mind and soul. A constant perfection all over the songs, reaching the peak ... (read more)

Report this review (#31660) | Posted by arqwave | Thursday, August 12, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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