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DEAD CAN DANCE

Prog Folk • Australia


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Dead Can Dance biography
In 1980 guitarist Brendan Perry left the Australian punk group THE MARCHING GIRLS and began experimenting with electronic music, particularly tape loops and rhythms. In 1981, Perry formed DEAD CAN DANCE with vocalist Lisa Gerrard, bassist Paul Erikson, and drummer Simon Monroe. By 1982, Perry and Gerrard decided to relocate to London; Erikson and Monroe decided to stay in Australia. Since then, DEAD CAN DANCE effectively worked as a duo with many session musicians and collaborators helping them record in studio and perform live.

In the spring of 1984, and with Erikson on bass they released their eponymous debut album on 4AD label, which showed the British Post-Punk and Gothic Rock influences. By the end of the year, the group had released an EP called "Garden of the Arcane Delights". In 1985, DEAD CAN DANCE released their second album, "Spleen and Ideal". The album presented a change of style, experimenting more with the elements of mediaeval, European folk and Worldbeat/Ambient music. It helped build their European cult following, peaking at number two on the U.K. indie charts.

"Within the Realm of a Dying Sun", the group's third album, appeared in 1986, while in 1988 the band released their fourth album, "The Serpent's Egg", which both rank among their best works. After their fifth album "Aion", in 1990 the group toured America for the first time, earning rave reviews. In 1991, the compilation "A Passage in Time" was released on Rykodisc, making it the first American release of DEAD CAN DANCE music. In the fall of 1993, the group released "Into the Labyrinth", which became their first proper studio album to receive an American release. It was followed by another American and European tour, which was documented on the 1994 album and film, "Toward the Within". In the summer of 1996, DEAD CAN DANCE released "Spiritchaser" and embarked on an international tour. The duo officially disbanded in 1999, with Gerrard and Perry continuing work as solo artists.

In 2001, Rhino released the band's first comprehensive box set, "Dead Can Dance 1981-1998". Gerrard and Perry reunited for a world tour 2005 while Rhino once more recognized the duo with a greatest hits collection. "Memento: The Very Best of Dead Can Dance" appeared in October 2005.

DEAD CAN DANCE combine elements of European folk music - particularly music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance - with ambient pop and worldbeat flourishes. Their songs are of lost beauty, regre...
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AnastasisAnastasis
Pias America 2012
Audio CD$8.97
$8.97 (used)
Into the LabyrinthInto the Labyrinth
Import
Wea International 1993
Audio CD$29.94
$1.99 (used)
Toward the WithinToward the Within
4ad Records 2008
Audio CD$7.07
$6.77 (used)
Serpent's EggSerpent's Egg
4ad Records 2008
Audio CD$7.07
$9.29 (used)
SpiritchaserSpiritchaser
4ad Records 2008
Audio CD$7.16
$4.99 (used)
WakeWake
4ad / Ada 2003
Audio CD$9.63
$3.40 (used)
Spleen & IdealSpleen & Ideal
4ad Records 2008
Audio CD$7.48
$9.88 (used)
1981-19981981-1998
Box set
Rhino / Wea 2001
Audio CD$145.77
$75.97 (used)
In ConcertIn Concert
PIAS 2013
Audio CD$7.26
$8.20 (used)
Dead Can Dance / Garden of the Arcane DelightsDead Can Dance / Garden of the Arcane Delights
4ad Records 2008
Audio CD$8.06
$5.29 (used)
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DEAD CAN DANCE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DEAD CAN DANCE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 59 ratings
Dead Can Dance
1984
3.45 | 73 ratings
Spleen And Ideal
1985
4.02 | 114 ratings
Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun
1987
3.84 | 101 ratings
The Serpent's Egg
1988
3.30 | 88 ratings
Aion
1990
3.91 | 88 ratings
Into The Labyrinth
1993
2.97 | 49 ratings
Spiritchaser
1996
3.68 | 90 ratings
Anastasis
2012

DEAD CAN DANCE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.23 | 45 ratings
Toward The Within
1994
2.62 | 10 ratings
In Concert
2013

DEAD CAN DANCE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.48 | 26 ratings
Toward The Within
1994

DEAD CAN DANCE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.21 | 21 ratings
A Passage In Time
1991
4.64 | 13 ratings
Dead Can Dance (1981-1998)
2001
4.21 | 19 ratings
Wake
2003
3.43 | 7 ratings
Memento: The Very Best of Dead Can Dance
2005

DEAD CAN DANCE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.61 | 17 ratings
Garden Of The Arcane Delights
1984
3.15 | 7 ratings
Live Happenings - Part 1
2011
3.16 | 6 ratings
Live Happenings - Part 2
2012
3.17 | 5 ratings
Live Happenings - Part 3
2012
3.17 | 5 ratings
Live Happenings IV
2012
3.14 | 3 ratings
Live Happenings - Part V
2012

DEAD CAN DANCE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Anastasis by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.68 | 90 ratings

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Anastasis
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by TCat

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!

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 Anastasis by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.68 | 90 ratings

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Anastasis
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 In Concert by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Live, 2013
2.62 | 10 ratings

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In Concert
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars Like many, I was relatively pleased to hear about DCD's reformation for an extensive world tour, though I was wondering what kind of sets they'd be playing before thinking about getting tickets to catch them live (since I'd missed them during their heydays). When the first echoes reached my ears, I decided to abstain, and this live album only confirms to me that I made the right decision. While not being a great fan of the band's "gothic" era, I really enjoyed their mid period around the Aion album; but to be honest, I never cared all that much for their brand of cheap Occidentalized "world music" they indulged in after that era

And indeed over the course of these two discs, you'll find mostly the latter period stuff, and not that much (read: none) of their early energetic gothic stuff. And indeed, the huge majority of the first disc is all too much of that "cheap Occidentalized world music" that I mentioned above. Why cheap, I hear you ask?? Well let's just say that a lot of it sounds like your average mid-eastern/Turkish band with cheap synths vaguely imitating a bunch of traditional instruments that specialize in weddings or Friday and Saturday night gigs in local Turkish restaurants in Western Europe. I know, that's one of the two reasons (the other being bad belly-dancers) why I avoid mid-eastern restaurants on those two evenings. ;o))) Anyway, if the first disc is relatively uninteresting, the second is relatively more pleasant (a few older tracks and a cover of Tim Buckley's Song To The Siren), despite still featuring that almost-infuriating ever-so-slow beat. Basically, what you've got on this album is the almost complete recent album of theirs Anastasia (released the previous year), and the odd tracks from their later albums Spirit Chaser and Labyrinth (96 & 93 respectively)? and a lone one from Serpent's Egg Host of Seraphim, but that's about it.

Actually the succession of the two discs can be a very arduous swallow in one take, because the huge chunk of their slow and relatively depressing atmospheres are tiresome and, let's face it, boring in the long run, much like their recent album, anyway. The good news is that if you indulged in this live album, you won't need their latest studio album?. But even then, I'm not sure you'd be winning.

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 Spiritchaser by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.97 | 49 ratings

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Spiritchaser
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by TCat

5 stars This is the third album in the DCD series of albums that I like to refer to as "The Amazing Trilogy", the first one being "Into the Labyrinth" and the 2nd "Toward the Within". This particular album concentrates completely on World music, but done on an epic scale. It is also largely driven by percussion throughout, not standard drums, but percussion appropriate for the music. Beautiful sounds, instrumentation, vocals and even poetry, it's all here. Once again, the best way to enjoy this album is to simply put on the headphones and close your eyes and let the music take you on a journey to far off lands. Many people might consider most of these tracks as being too repetitive but this is not the case. The most repetitive thing about this album is the constant percussion that changes very little through each individual track. That enhances the tribal aspect of this album, so it is necessary. But there is so much more to concentrate on here, including the ever changing instrumentation and vocal melodies throughout. The longest tracks here are the stand out tracks; "Song of the Stars" and "Indus". Since these tracks are back to back, your journey goes uninterrupted by other tracks. The percussion/rhythm is constant throughout the entire 10+ minutes of "Song of the Stars" and this is very effective when contrasted with the way different instruments are added into the song as it flies along and the vocals which begin with a poetry reading and then later very dynamic chanting in another language. The vocals do not distract from the beauty of the song but actually enhance it since they become instruments in and of themselves, which is another amazing trick that DCD can pull off just as well as Sigur Ros. "Indus" is another percussion driven piece with Lisa taking the lead vocals. This one is slower and more of a Litany I suppose. In the middle of this one, a guitar is introduced into the mix which plays a nice yet complex melody several times before Lisa and Brendan join in the vocals together with a nice understated harmony. Another effective thing about this one is the darkness and beauty of the lower strings. And then, just like on the track before, instruments and melodies are constantly being added into the constant rhythm of the percussion. Simply beautiful! Simple yet complex! There is so much going on here, yet it sounds so basic on the surface. That's why you have to listen closely. You know how you can get lost in Pink Floyd's instrumentals on Shine On You Crazy Diamond? I can get lost the same exact way on these two tracks. Worth the purchase price alone, even if the other tracks weren't worthy of this album, which, amazingly enough, they are. A very nice vocal by Brendan with English lyrics follows underlied with a nice plucked acoustic guitar and congas which is all joined by a piano and something brassy in a low register keep it interesting. Towards the last verse and fade out of the piece, the piano goes into a slow tango to backup the rest of the song. The next track is a short percussive track that bridges us into the next track which is another vocal by Brendan against a nice rhythmic bass and percussive line that repeats as a tribal dance. The modern and ancient come together so well on this track. And so it continues for the remaining tracks, every track unique and individual yet all tied together to work as a continuous whole. I'll leave the rest of the CD there for you to explore and leave the surprises for you to discover on your own. It's music like this that makes me want to explore other types of music that I normally would ignore simply because it is not embedded in my culture. This is a mistake we all make. I think it would do everyone a world of good to get familiar with DCD music and use it as a gateway to explore just how many options are out there in the real world of music. This is a masterpiece!

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 Toward The Within by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Live, 1994
4.23 | 45 ratings

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Toward The Within
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by TCat

5 stars This is the 2nd album in what I like to refer to as "The Amazing Trilogy" by Dead Can Dance, the 1st being "Into the Labyrinth" and the 3rd is "Spiritwalker". The difference with this one is that it is a live recording, but only 4 out of the 15 tracks are previously released, so it is like a brand new album. The production is so amazing on this, if it weren't for the audience reactions between the tracks, you would never know it was in concert. Most of the tracks are quite amazing consisting of DCD's signature sound, which is old world and traditional music from different cultures and also original compositions mostly written and sung by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry. Many of the vocals are wordless vocalizations/other languages and some are in English. Regardless of the delivery, the vocals are top notch and the instrumentals are outstanding. The first three tracks are not found on any previous DCD release, yet they are quite typical of their sound, beautiful, ethereal, and nicely textured. The 4th track is one of my favorites both in the studio and live, for the most part it sounds pretty much the same, but is immensely enjoyable anyway. There is then a short flute solo and then the accapella song from their previous album "The Wind that Shakes the Barley". This one sounds pretty much exactly as the studio version, and these last two tracks always make me start to doubt whether I like this album as much as the last. But, not to worry. Everything comes alive after this with Brendan singing his version of "I Am Stretched Across Your Grave" (an original for DCD, but it is a traditional song) which I have to say is the best performance I have heard from him. This brings the album back up again but what follows next is nothing short of awesomeness. "I Can See Now" and "American Dreaming" both original DCD songs never released before, sung by Perry with the acoustic guitar as the feature instrument on both. The awesomeness continues. Usually I am partial to Lisa's amazing vocals, but here live in front of an audience, Brendan proves that he is capable of not only writing great music, but conveying the real, raw emotion of it also. Wait....the amazingness isn't over yet....Lisa sings the previously released "Cantara" which was nothing but pure perfection in the studio, but here live, it is even more amazing. This song lifts my spirit each time, but done live, you feel like you are right there in the audience lost in the song. You can just picture people getting into the music, floating at first and then suddenly dancing wildly. Wow! The album continues with more original and traditional music mostly never released on any previous DCD album. This one is all full of surprises and should not be passed up if you are investigating DCD's music. It should be essential for any DCD fan but also considered a masterpiece because this is how a concert album should be done; giving music lovers a reason to purchase the album because there is either enough new material on it or the versions of the songs are varied enough from the original version so it feels fresh and new.

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 Into The Labyrinth   by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.91 | 88 ratings

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Into The Labyrinth
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by TCat

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.

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 Aion by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.30 | 88 ratings

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Aion
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by TCat

3 stars This album from Dead Can Dance might just be their most accessible. Though it's not their best in my opinion, it is still good and still give a pretty good example of their sound. There is plenty of darkness on this on, however, there are actually tracks that are light hearted (Salterello will make you think you are listening to a traditional European folk band). That's something that is quite rare with DCD. But they do it well. This album is made up mostly of traditional music and not original songs. The songs mostly come from old world European and other cultures. I think this is a very good mix and the sound never seems to get drawn down into dark oblivion. Most of the songs are quite short and this might concern some people because one of DCD's problems with short songs in the past has been that they seem underdeveloped and cut short. Not the case here though. Each song is well developed and given excellent creative attention. Both Gerrard and Perry have plenty of vocal time throughout this album, even mixing their voices at times. There is some nice harmony on "The End of Words". Great percussion and brassiness (yes the brass is back again, even though it is electronic brass) on "Black Sun". Even with the differences on this album, it still has plenty of the dark DCD sound that they are famous for, but it is mixed with a good amount of lightness to help make the entire album easier to listen to for first timers. For those familiar with DCD's sound, this album may seem shallow at first, but there should be enough here to keep you happy (or gloomy) after a few listens. Like anything that DCD does, this definitely deserves attention. I will rate this one at 3 stars but it is probably more like 3.5, not as good as "Dying Sun" but better than "Serpent's Egg".

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 The Serpent's Egg by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.84 | 101 ratings

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The Serpent's Egg
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by TCat

3 stars The attention in this album seems to be focused on chants and minimalism. Gerrard and Perry carry on with the same beautiful textured style using multi-cultural influences to paint their musical ideas. One thing that has changed is that most of the instrumentals consist of a small string section and none of the brass from the last album. Lisa starts off with her lovely and distinctive (at least for western music) vocals. Throughout this album, the vocals are taking the center stage and the instrumentals, while effective and interesting, are supporting the vocals for the most part. This is minimalism at it's best. There is some beautiful vocal layering on "The Writing on My Father's Hand" but this track ends too quickly before it can get developed much. Instrumentals do get a little more interesting on the 5 th track towards the middle as tension and volume builds being driven by some pounding percussive loops, but it soon backs off. There is no doubt about the talent of the vocalists and writers/arrangers here. This album, however, seems to explore the minimalistic approach and chanting styles and may not be easily accessible for many people. Unfortunately, most of the tracks are underdeveloped.. Things do get more interesting for the short track "Echolalia" with the contrasting vocals and this leads into track "Mother Tongue" with some very nice percussion that continues for a while and then suddenly changes to a very distinctive booming bass and percussive exchange. Gerrard's vocals do eventually come in with short start/stop phrasing and instrumental passages in between. This is the most interesting part of this album and this song is a foreshadow of the beauty that will be heard in the future albums "Spiritwalker" and "Into the Labyrinth". This along with "The Host of Seraphim" are the highlights of the album while the remainder, while interesting and unique, is somewhat lacking in development. This was not an issue with the last album "Within the Realm of a Dying Sun" which was better developed. However, the best is still yet to come.

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 Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1987
4.02 | 114 ratings

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Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by TCat

4 stars This is the fourth release (which includes 1 EP) from this very distinctive sounding band. On the previous albums, they explored goth rock moving closer to their signature old world sound with each album. This release even refines their sound even more than the previous one. The songs include more orchestral arrangements along with the mix of electronics and old world instruments that were prevalent in the previous album. This one is dark and brooding, which still shouts out goth rock, but the imposing, thick sound from the debut album and the EP is gone. All the sounds are distinct and beautiful. This starts off with a atmospheric instrumental lead in on the first track that gives way to Perry's pensive vocals. An instrumental follows, a beautiful introspective piece with quite a variety of instruments. You can start to hear the importance of the instrumentation in this album which in the past releases was mostly used as backdrops for the tracks. The third selection is another vocal by Perry with a nice shimmering background bringing to mind sitting next to a dark water lake and watching the sunlight sparkle off the ripples. Unfortunately, this track ends too abruptly. "Xavier", the fourth track, starts out with a repeating chord progression in a stop/start fashion with nice wordless vocals overlying the progression. The progression stops and a new idea starts with vocals once again by Perry. This one has a lot more substance to the song and it as proven when the chord progression starts again which this time is followed by the melody in the vocals. Excellent development of the melody as the selection continues. This track is definitely a standout on the album even if it still follows the same ambience as the rest of the album up to this point, which is very little percussion with the rhythm being punctuated by chords from various instruments. The somberness of the album up until now is interrupted by a booming drum and brass in the next track which soon changes to a drone overlayed by Gerrard's amazing vocals. This is the first time we hear from Gerrard on this album and her voice up to this point has been sorely missed. Tension builds somewhat but the track ends right at the climax. The next track is one of my favorite DCD tracks. I love this one. I'm not going to describe it other than it has a long instrumental at the beginning and has a totally unexpected change halfway through and Gerrard's vocals start. This one showcases Gerrard when she does start singing. Finally, some percussion, which only heightens the track. Love this. There is even some harmonization here which up to this point on any DCD track has been a rare thing. Put on the headphones and listen to everything going on here! Every once in a while I run across a perfect track.....a six star track when rating on a 5 star scale. The next track holds another surprise as the vocals are arranged to sound like a small choir throughout. The harmony is sung in an almost "Round" type composition where underlying voices sing the melody behind the lead voices adding not just the melody but embellishments. The percussion is minimal here and that is okay, it's not needed. A very tense yet flowing track. Beautiful. The vocals are not showcased here because the focus on this track is on the music. The last track is once again Gerrard singing in a very dark manner beginning in a low register along with a plodding bass line. Her trademark warble is apparent here as the vocals build to an instrumental break consisting of strings. Simply lovely. Layered vocals follow giving this an almost chamber like feeling. So percussion is used sparingly on this album so that the center of attention is fixed on the instrumentation and vocals. This one is a lot more atmospheric than the previous albums. There is also a lot more ingenuity, a lot more texture. It demands to be listened to, not used as background music or driving music. The second half of the album is the most progressive and also has the best written music. The album suffers slightly because of the weaker first half, but this is still an excellent addition to any collection and should not be ignored.

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 Spleen And Ideal by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.45 | 73 ratings

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Spleen And Ideal
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by TCat

4 stars Now, Dead Can Dance has decided to make it their mission to bring old world music to life in the current age. The first album and EP were both goth rock with a very dark feel, yet ambitions were evident throughout these albums. Gerrard and Perry decide with their 2nd full length album to establish their signature sound that they would expand on throughout their career. They start us on their musical journey with "De Profundus" which is a prelude to their sound. Gerrard leads this with her amazing vocals and the bombastic sound of the music makes us feel we are preparing for some enormous event. This is progressive at it's best and most inventive. We are taken unashamedly into a new (or old) realm that is completely their own. The 2nd track "Ascension" is mostly instrumental and follows in the same vein as the first track, building suspense and atmosphere. Next comes "Circumradient Dawn" which has beautiful vocals from Gerrard again. For the first time, we can really hear what she can do with her voice. It doesn't matter whether we can understand her words, her voice is at the forefront and not buried so much in layers of goth instrumentals. I only wish this track was longer and more developed, but it's amazing just to hear what we hear. Next Perry takes the lead vocals with English lyrics and we hear for the first time his voice at the forefront, not buried in layers of instruments. He sounds like Jim Morrison but with more finesse and less bombastic. Another excellent track. Now we know what we are dealing with, creativity and originality, and that is we can expect for the rest of our journey with Dead Can Dance throughout their albums. Old world music with old world instruments and new world programming. It works well. As the album continues, you will notice that no longer do we have a wall of sound as we did in the previous albums but everything is so much more textured. You don't have to pay so much attention to hear everything that is going on in the music because it is all there to listen to, but you will still want to pay attention and soak in every sound that is being made here. The music still retains that dark tone yet it is uplifting in it's own way. Now the production has texture. It no longer feels like you are running up against a brick wall, but that all the instruments and sounds are distinct. Even then, every time you listen to this, you will hear new things. "Advent" stands out among these tracks with a nice percussive and bass line. Perry's vocals are at times dissonant clashing with the instruments on purpose only to bring the melody back into focus. He maneuvers his voice around the atmospheric background with finesse so that you know the dissonance is there for a reason. In "Avatar", Gerrard gives us a taste of her amazing middle Eastern sounding vocals with her acrobatic pitch changes and her controlled warbling. Again, the instrumentals highlight the vocals and also bring the song to a climax making this song feel a lot more developed. If you listen closely you can hear just how elaborate the instrumentals are even if they are only providing the backbone for the song, a foreshadowing of how their music will develop later on. This album focuses more on the vocal talents of Gerrard and Perry. Even though the instrumentals are interesting and excellently played, they serve for creating the atmosphere of the music and for backing up the vocals. More instrumental exploration will follow in later recordings. One shortcoming of this album is that most of the songs seem underdeveloped, except for "Avatar" which is a very satisfying track. Further exploration will remedy this problem in later recordings. Overall however, this is an excellent album and prog lovers should give this one a lot of attention.

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