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DEAD CAN DANCE

Prog Folk • Australia


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Dead Can Dance picture
Dead Can Dance biography
Founded in Melbourne, Australia in 1981 - Disbanded in 1998 - Reformed briefly in 2005 and again since 2011

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...
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DEAD CAN DANCE discography


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

3.31 | 95 ratings
Dead Can Dance
1984
3.66 | 119 ratings
Spleen and Ideal
1985
4.10 | 189 ratings
Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun
1987
3.88 | 158 ratings
The Serpent's Egg
1988
3.41 | 134 ratings
Aion
1990
3.94 | 143 ratings
Into The Labyrinth
1993
3.24 | 87 ratings
Spiritchaser
1996
3.82 | 145 ratings
Anastasis
2012
3.89 | 84 ratings
Dionysus
2018

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

4.28 | 63 ratings
Toward The Within
1994
4.00 | 1 ratings
DCD 2005 12th March Holland: The Hague
2005
2.76 | 22 ratings
In Concert
2013

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

3.61 | 42 ratings
Toward The Within
1994

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

3.36 | 34 ratings
A Passage In Time
1991
4.00 | 1 ratings
Dead Can Dance
1994
4.63 | 18 ratings
Dead Can Dance (1981-1998)
2001
4.42 | 19 ratings
Wake
2003
3.50 | 10 ratings
Memento: The Very Best of Dead Can Dance
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
Selections from North America 2005
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
Selections from Europe 2005
2005
5.00 | 1 ratings
SACD Box Set
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live Happenings I-V
2012

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

3.64 | 27 ratings
Garden Of The Arcane Delights
1984
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Host of Seraphim
1993
4.00 | 1 ratings
American Dreaming
1994
4.00 | 1 ratings
Sambatiki
1996
4.00 | 1 ratings
Nierika
1996
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Snake and the Moon
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
John Peel Session 2.6.1984
2010
3.21 | 9 ratings
Live Happenings - Part 1
2011
3.22 | 8 ratings
Live Happenings - Part 2
2012
3.23 | 7 ratings
Live Happenings - Part 3
2012
3.23 | 7 ratings
Live Happenings IV
2012
3.21 | 5 ratings
Live Happenings - Part V
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
Opium
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
John Peel Session 19.11.1983
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
Amnesia
2012
3.50 | 2 ratings
Mosaic (Early demos)
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
Moon Child Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
2019

DEAD CAN DANCE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Spleen and Ideal by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.66 | 119 ratings

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Spleen and Ideal
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

4 stars Haunting and cinematic, 'Spleen And Ideal' is an album that never ceases to blow my mind every time I dabble into the Dead Can Dance universe. Carefully crafted, with immense attention to creating a sonic atmosphere that cannot be mistaken, this second album is still my favorite by the duo consisting of Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard.

I have always found the magic of this album to be beyond what one can hear, it is in the very order of every note, the experience of listening to this with full attention, it is in the way every line is sang, should there be lyrical content; all this is elevated by the eclectic set of instrumentation that accompanies the musical ideas - cellos, timpanis, violins, trombones, guitars, and a pounding bass guitar on a few occasions.

Another strong moment for the album is the cathartic and unforgettable cover, a photograph depicting a building in the very moment of detonation, contemplated by a girl that is holding a plastic star - a contradictory and thought-provoking image that is as arcane as the music on the record.

The first side is surely the more solemn one, quite 'monumentally' performed with the big orchestral sounds, eerie vocal harmonies by Lisa Gerrard, and hypnotic drum beats. 'De Profundis' strongly resembles a liturgy, and the holy feels is really embracing you as you go through this album opener, and 'Circumradiant Dawn' has this prevailing medieval feel. The more gothic rock 'The Cardinal Sin' is for me a Dead Can Dance staple, just like 'Ascension' which is so heavily atmospheric and 'Mesmerism' - the elevating nature of these songs is definitely something that was a desired outcome, and a gracefully achieved one.

Side two should then be the more magical side, the darker and more aerial one - here the grandiosity is at the back, and fore comes the 'sacrament' of the duo, in a way. 'Advent' is seriously intense and even menacing, with sheltering vocals by Brendan Perry, 'Avatar' is an expansive track with a really vibrant energy, and 'Indoctrination' is very gloomy but slightly inferior to what comes before it.

This is a very unusual album, not an 'every day listen', one definitely needs to be in a spiritual need for something different musically because this record can truly satisfy such cravings. Highly recommended for people who want to hear an 80s album that has nothing to do with 80s popular music, something darker, more atmospheric and hypnotic.

 Dead Can Dance by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.31 | 95 ratings

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Dead Can Dance
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by progtime1234567

3 stars Dead can dance started out as a great Gothic rock or darkwave band that would sometimes foreshadow their future material in this album. The music itself is great although I am biased as Gothic rock and darkwave are some of my favorite genres of music, but we are on a progressive rock music website, so I will observe the other side to the band. A perfect example of the band foreshadowing their future albums is the song Ocean, which has no drums and Lisa Gerrard's vocals. Ocean sounds nothing like any other song on the album with maybe the exception of The Fatal Impact, which is the instrumental opening song, but even then the two songs sound almost nothing alike. The rest of the album is pretty straightforward with a few exceptions like the two songs I mentioned above, but don't let it fool you as this doesn't sound like The Sisters of Mercy or Bauhaus. This debut album is sure to please Trad Goths, but a progressive rock fan should save this album for later, and listen to some of their later albums first, and then come to this. I enjoy this album a lot but since we are on a progressive rock music website, I will give this three stars. I would give it four stars if this was a Gothic music site, Ha.
 Spleen and Ideal by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.66 | 119 ratings

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Spleen and Ideal
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars First time hearing this album, I can't help but remark on the "youthfulness" of both Lisa and Brendan's voices. I'm also rather blown away at the way the music (if not the vocal tracks) has aged so well. Using instruments from the period, I would have expected more moments of cringing and embarrassment. But no: Nary a one! (Must be the 4 A.D. magic.)

1. "De Profundis (Out of the Depths of Sorrow)" (4:00) I can see this awesome song that conjures up so much of ancient times being the opener for many a Wiccan and pagan ceremony! (Now I know where/why ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF sounds so familiar to me!) (Lisa sounds so young!) must've been shockingly fresh for its time. (10/10)

2. "Ascension" (3:05) awesome instrumental that pretty much continues to lay down the theme of ancient and/or medieval (though majestic) from the opener. I'm in disbelief at how well they got these antiquated instruments to blend so well and how they were able to create a sound that doesn't sound so dated. (10/10)

3. "Circumradiant Dawn" (3:17) moving from the majestic and courtly to the chambers of the religious/wily women. (10/10)

4. "Cardinal Sin" (5:29) Brendan's voice is already strong and steady! Nice, thick music backing him, too. (8.75/10)

5. "Mesmerism" (3:53) She sounds so young! (8.5/10)

6. "Enigma of the Absolute" (4:13) a song that rather plods along is saved by the presence of the strings. (8.25/10)

7. "Advent" (5:19) with that BUGGLES-like bass line, this one moves the band a little more into the realm of New Wave. It is, in fact, a nice, pretty pop ballad. (9/10)

8. "Avatar" (4:35) finally, some Middle Eastern sounds and stylings (zither and vocal)! Shades of what is to come! (Again, I hear Anna von Hausswolff so clearly!) (9.5/10)

9. "Indoctrination (A Design for Living)" (4:16) piano, cheezy pseudo-jazz drum, and deep sustained synth bass over which Brendan sings somehow engages and mesmerizes. (9/10)

Total Time: 38:11

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive folk-rock music.

 The Serpent's Egg by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.88 | 158 ratings

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The Serpent's Egg
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Brendan and Lisa turn more to the East (especially the Middle East) for their inspiration and goals. Lisa's voice has certainly matured and strengthened.

1. "The Host of Seraphim" (6:18) there is no denying the vocal virtuosity on display in this song, but the instrumental bed on which it lays is equally mesmerizing. A true gut-wrenching masterpiece of music. One for the ages. (10/10)

2. "Orbis de Ignis" (1:35) a multi-voice medieval chant/weave with an Eastern European feel. (4.75/5)

3. "Severance" (3:22) organ giving Brendan a turn. A little too monotonous; nothing very exciting or innovative here. (7.75/10)

4. "The Writing on My Father's Hand" (3:50) (Anna Von Hausswolff: I've found your inspiration! Also, Katharine Blake/Mediæval Bæbes.) (8.75/10)

5. "In the Kingdom of the Blind the One-Eyed Are Kings" (4:12) Brendan's turn over the first and only incidence of "dated"-sounding keyboards I've yet experienced by this band's output in the 1980s! Too bad. (8.5/10)

6. "Chant of the Paladin" (3:48) like a slave work song! Wow! Don't beat us to death! (8.5/10)

7. "Song of Sophia" (1:24) a cappella Lisa in some Middle Eastern language. (4.25/5)

8. "Echolalia" (1:17) male pagan chanters with tympanic drums are soon joined--alternating with call-and-response-like form--with female chorus. Interesting if not very engaging. (4.25/5)

9. "Mother Tongue" (5:16) instrumental African-like drum weave which is slowed down and joined by breathy synth flute and occasional female chants in the second half. I'm a sucker for African drum circles. (8.75/10)

10. "Ullyses" (5:09) employing a sound palette that Lisa and Brendan will return to (with great success) for the duration of their musical partnership. Brendan's turn in the lead. Unfortunately, his voice is mixed far too far in the back. (8.5/10)

Total Time: 36:15

Once again, I am astounded that these two could get the "authentic" and realistic sound blends with the electronic instruments they were using.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of world folk-eclectic progressive rock music.

 Aion by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.41 | 134 ratings

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Aion
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is my favorite Dead Can Dance album of all-time. I think this is due to the fact that it's instrumentation is more acoustic, more Euro-centric (not that I don't love other world musical traditions), and more "authentic" in terms of the instrumentation and song choices. As a matter of fact, since many of the songs here (all of Side One?) are "covers" or Brendan and Lisa's interpretations of classic mediæval and Renaissance songs (even chant!), I guess "authentic" is the appropriate, and operative, word here. As a representative of the Prog Folk sub-genre, I am much happier when a band is closer to folk than prog (electric) and rock (band formatted) and I am never happier than when ancient and old music forms and styles are attempted--especially when they are successfully rendered--as they are here.

Favorite songs: "The End of Words" (5/5); the brief hurdy-gurdy joy, "Mephisto" (5/5); "Wilderness" (5/5); the mesmerizing, "The Garden of Zephirus" (5/5); "The Arrival and The Reunion"(4.75/5); the gorgeous Celtic weave that is "As the Bell Rings The Maypole Spins" (9/10); "Saltarello" (9/10); the gorgeous multi-Lisa-voiced, "The Promised Womb" (8.75/10); "Fortune Present Gifts Not According to the Book" (8.75/10); "The Song of Sybli" (8.5/10), and; "Radharc" (8.5/10) and "Black Sun" (8/10).

It's funny how I often find the songs on which Brendan singing the lead vocal among my favorites but not so here. I guess his long-sustained, reverbed notes don't lend themselves so well to the ancient European traditions.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music and a near-masterpiece of Prog Folk as well.

 Into The Labyrinth by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.94 | 143 ratings

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Into The Labyrinth
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

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.

 Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1987
4.10 | 189 ratings

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

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Now this is an album I used to absolutely love, the evocative imagery of medieval castles and gothic horror providing an extremely interesting listening experience overall, and one that I hadn't heard executed to such a high degree of quality. Now that I've gotten over my mind being blown by such a sound, I've got to say that this album still manages to be a very interesting listen to me, due to just how perfect an atmosphere it has, having an air of mystery to it while being able to be both intense and emotionally hard hitting, depending on what the band is going for at the time. And after all, despite the novelty of this sound wearing off on me by now, it definitely doesn't change the fact that I can't think of too many albums that manage to be this perfectly atmospheric, even if the songwriting can sometimes fall a bit flat, leading to this being duller than it could have been at times.

With all this said, there are 2 songs on here that I believe are genuine masterpieces, the first being the opening track, Anywhere Out of the World. The minute and a half long buildup not only manages to perfectly evoke the image of a grand church or castle, but one in the middle of a great storm, surrounding trees being torn to pieces by the strong wind and heavy rain. Whether of not this was intentional doesn't matter to me, it's still one of the strongest images I've ever gleaned from a song. The ghostly vocals only add to the rich atmosphere that's being built upon with each passing second, the grandiose nature of it all, especially the instrumental melody being jaw droppingly powerful. I'm quite a big fan of how some of the more initially insignificant instrumental tracks such as Windfall manage to often be quite well crafted, starting off repetitive but once again gradually building, becoming denser as time goes on in order to maintain the atmosphere. In the Wake of Adversity similarly upholds a mysterious sound to a very similar effect. Xavier is the second masterpiece of the album, once again taking a while to build up to the main portion of the song, but making every second worth it, establishing a very sombre tone that's further heightened by the fact that it feels like a funeral procession. In terms of power, this song is near unmatched, with every chord played having such weight and emotion behind it, compounded by the further emotion of the chorus. This is just overall one of the greatest songs I've heard in my opinion, everything manages to work so perfectly.

Despite so far thinking that this is an incredible album, here's where I find the problems start to surface, as all of the songs utilising the female vocals feel more hit and miss. Dawn of the Iconoclast feels short and underdeveloped, the blaring brass compounded with the dramatic, repetitive singing in another language just doesn't really do anything of interesting note. Cantara has similar problems, albeit to a much lesser extent, it just ends up almost feeling like an overlong interlude, although I do love the pace of this quite a lot, sounding far more fitting for the sort of grandiose flair that the song has, and end up enjoying it quite a bit regardless. Summoning of the Muse makes excellent use of vocal layering to create an extremely busy, yet never disorienting soundscape, chiming church bells adding once again to the atmosphere that's been so perfect throughout. Persephone may end the album on a somewhat weaker note, being the one track that feels as if it goes on for far too long, and also just not being able to really feel evocative or that interesting, the buildup of the song being slow to a fault, making the payoff end up feeling unsatisfying, it's a mediocre end to the album, though it is absolutely beautiful nonetheless.

I feel if the second half of this album were polished some more, this could be an absolutely incredible album, but as it stands, I find it slightly inconsistent. This is mostly rectified by the fact that it has 2 songs on it which manage to be near perfectly crafted masterpieces, ultimately helping in making this album very worthwhile. What also makes this an album I find great is the rich, evocative atmosphere and imagery that's everywhere in here, the medieval sound of it being very interesting, especially given how well it's utilised to create an album that truly feels unique. This is definitely an album that both immediately reveals its greatness, while also leaving a lot of room to have this album grow on you, and is easily an album that I consider a must listen, despite some inconsistencies.

Best tracks: Anywhere Out of the World, Xavier, Summoning of the Muse

Weakest tracks: Dawn of the Iconoclast, Persephone

Verdict: This is easily one of the most atmospherically rich album I've listened to, the strong neoclassical sound it has combined with excellent songwriting leading to a number of songs which are near untouchable in terms of how evocative they manage to be. While it's definitely a bit inconsistent in the second half to me, the highlights are all so good that it's something that can be overlooked to a degree, making this an album I do consider a must listen.

 Dionysus by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 84 ratings

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Dionysus
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by tempest_77

4 stars Dionysus is an excellent follow-up to the neoclassical dark wave group's 2012 album Anastasis. It gives their typical world-infused dark wave sound a pagan, almost "tribal" spin. This album, unlike many of the band's albums, is split up into two long suites, rather than a series of tracks (it is worth noting that most albums by the band do flow fluidly between tracks, they just aren't usually notated as suites).

ACT I

Act I starts of with the wonderful "Sea Borne", an instrumental track with choral backing that is based on the same ostinato throughout but builds in energy over the course of 6 and a half minutes. It's a classic Dead Can Dance track, but with obvious new influences giving it an added flair.

"Liberator of Minds" has more movement to it, with a variety of instruments throughout. There is some sort of string instrument (not sure what) tying the track together. The song flows up and down and is wonderfully dynamic. At this point it is clear that Act I is primarily instrumental. While there are tribal-esque vocalisations throughout, the music is not lyrically based, be it in English or in Lisa Gerrard's "speaking in tongues".

"Dance of the Bacchantes" is a nice nod to the title of the album (Bacchus being the Roman form of Dionysus). It's based on a cool tribal beat and has lots of the aforementioned vocalisations throughout it. This is probably the most different song on the album from their previous work, with the "tribal" influence being very strong both in the beat and in the vocals.

ACT II

Act II opens on "The Mountain" with a dark, droning synthesizer, before introducing an accompanying hurdy gurdy, I believe. Some handclaps introduce a basic rhythm, which is slowly complicated more and more in a nice expansive effect, as instruments are added to the harmonic background as well until the song becomes a lush soundscape and Brendan Perry's vocals come in. There is more of a vocal focus in this song, though they are tribal sounding and non- English (potentially non-lyrical). The rhythm cuts out as the vocals continue over our harmonic background, until the song eventually devolves into a pastoral soundscape over a fading synth like the one it began with.

"The Invocation" opens with Gerrard's vocals, more non-lyrical (or at least non-English) singing, with a rhythm then being introduced. It's a beautiful and fairly dynamic track with some cool sitar-esque breaks in between the singing. Besides the tribal rhythms, Act II so far sounds much more like some of Dead Can Dance's previous work than Act I did, largely due to the greater focus on the vocals.

"The Forest" opens with a neat synthesizer that sounds almost like bird calls, before introducing Perry's vocals and another tribal beat. The vocals on this song, though also not English, are the most lyrical of the ones we've had so far on the album, with the lyrics on the previous song still being somewhat ambient. There are some great stings from the strings (say that five times fast) throughout the lyrical sections, which trade off with sections of Gerrard singing a choral background. The two eventually meld together halfway through the song, before breaking off into an instrumental section with a persistent sitar-esque melody. This song is sort of the climax of ACT II, as it builds a lot of energy throughout, before the bird call synth transitions us into the next song.

"Psychopomp" opens with some rain-like percussion sounds (not sure what percussion instrument exactly) before introducing a very low flute-like sound and a simple tribal beat. This simple background continues under Perry's vocals, yet again lyrical but non-English. Over time, Gerrard sings lines here and there as well, with the two vocal parts having a back and forth overlap effect. This track stays at a pretty low dynamic level to close out the album on a subdued note.

Overall, I'd say that while Act I is more musically fresh than Act II, Act II is a lot musically stronger and flows much better. I will note that the album as a whole doesn't have the most consistent flow to it. What it lacks in its cohesion as an album, however, it makes up for in being an excellent combination of excellent songs, as well as giving a new spin to their classic worldbeat / dark wave combination. I definitely enjoyed the "tribal" influence combined with their usual medieval sound, though I wish I had a better word than tribal. 8/10

 Dionysus by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 84 ratings

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Dionysus
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Lisa and Brendan are back with what may well be their best Dead Can Dance album ever. Though partitioned into two suites, I cannot help but treat each "movement" as its own entity, its own song, as they each have very separate sounds and stylings.

ACT I (16:39)

- "Sea Borne" (6:45) typical layering of simple Middle Eastern and mediæval tones, melodies and instrument sounds which is augmented by a many-layered "chorale" of Lisa's vocal tracks. Relaxing, joyful, processional, cinematic, and beautiful. (9.5/10)

- "Liberator of Minds" (5:22) a different set of Middle Eastern "instruments" with different pacing and feel. Though possessing several nice melodies and a nice hand drum pace-setter, this one lacks strong, central vocal presence. (8.5/10)

- "Dance of the Bacchantes" (4:32) feels more contiguous with "Liberator" due to the use of the same hand drum for the rhythm setter. More vocal use--some imitative of animals and human revelry--coupled with a brisker pace make this one a bit more interesting. (8.75/10)

ACT II (19:27)

- "The Mountain" (5:35) slow meditative Middle Eastern music making me feel as if I'm walking through a desert village with the very real chance of running across Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi. Both Brendan and Lisa's voices are used here in a kind of slow call-and-response format. The sound of the bleating of mountain goats and animal neck bells join this song to the next. (9/10)

- "The Invocation" (4:51) with only hand cymbols and djembe-like bass to provide rhythm, Lisa uses multiple tracks to present a vocal-based music quite like the female choir of Bulgarian folk singers known from the Le Mystère des voix Bulgares albums of the 1980s. Hammered zithers, bowed rabab (?) and hand drum and clap tracks eventually join in to fill the sections between Lisa's Bulgarian sections. Masterful. (10/10)

- "The Forest" (5:31) opens with electro-pop synth drums before African male singing enters. Brendan's vocal track(s) are backed by electro-pop bass and drums while alternated by zither and rabab like synths. Later, the Youssou N'dour-like voice is joined by multiple tracks of female choral singers á la MIRIAM STOCKLEY from the ADIEMUS records of the late 1990s. Electro-synth "jungle" noises are used to bleed this song into the final one. (8.5/10)

- "Psychopomp" (3:30) involves some very simple single voice singing by both Brendan and Lisa, in separate tracks playing off of one another, all performed over a very simple, austere soundscape of breathy flutes and hand percussives like shells and nuts, rainstick, bass drum, and Hamza El-Din like frame drums. (9/10)

A masterpiece of electro-simp world folk music rated down for its 36-minute length.

 Dionysus by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 84 ratings

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Dionysus
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars At last, Dead Can Dance released their new album 'Dionysus' 6 years after their last studio release and their 9th studio release overall. Seeing as I am a huge fan of Dead Can Dance, I've been waiting for this one patiently. I was hoping to be the first to review it here, but I see Silly Puppy beat me to the punch, but that's okay. It's good to see others here with a passion for this music. Besides, I'm sure I'll get my revenge 'Bwah-hah-hah'! This album is made up of two tracks, or Acts, each one having subsections, or divisions.

The first Act has 3 parts, while the second has 4 parts. The first act is called 'Sea Bourne' and is about Dionysus's voyage by boat. The subsections are 'Sea Bourne' (6:44), 'Liberator of Minds' (5:20) and 'Dance of the Bacchantes' (4:35).

'Sea Borne' starts with waves and a deep bass rumble representing a fog or ship's horn. Soon a tribal rhythm starts up with the sound of various traditional and modern instruments and a percussive pattern. There are some wordless vocals that are probably processed into harmonics almost in a classical choir style. Immediately, the music carries you away, as their music seems to do. The music is mostly instrumental and the vocals act as another instrument here. The music is also surprisingly accessible and bright.

'Liberator of Minds' continues with a slower rhythm and a more folkish feel to it, sort of a middle eastern and European vibe mix. There are also natural effects that we have heard in past albums and more wordless vocals. 'Dance of the Bacchantes' has a quicker rhythmic pattern established early on with tribal vocals and atmosphere.

This first act has very little vocals except as used in an instrumental style, and when they are used, they are not at the forefront as much as they are used as atmospheric purposes. This half of the album takes you away on a voyage and works well as music to meditate to or just lose yourself in. It would also work well as background music, but DCD's music always demands to be listened to for the absolute quality of the music.

Act II is called 'The Mountain' and is made up of 4 subsections called 'The Mountain' (5:34), 'The Invocation' (4:56), 'The Forest' (5:04) and 'Psychopomp' (3:53). This act is about Dionysus' birth, transformation to a God and afterlife.

'The Mountain' starts off with a low drone which is soon joined by a lone celtic instrument. A slow dirge-like rhythm starts to drive it forward and other instruments join. Both Brendan and Lisa start singing together for the first time on this album. Lyrics are in the band's usual language which stresses the voice as more of an instrument. Then we hear the drone softly with chimes ringing as things turn ambient for a short time.

'The Invocation' starts with Lisa's vocals alone and then accompanied by bass and percussion with a tribal choir. Soon a beautiful melody on plucked strings starts in between Lisa's verses and this alternates for a while. Other interesting sounds continue as traditional instruments are introduced into the song. This is the music that we all come to Dead Can Dance for! Simply amazing.

'The Forest' starts with natural sounds and then Brendan's vocals come in accompanied by a mid tempo percussion, still keeping the tribal feel that has been prevalent throughout the album. There are also harmonized vocals behind everything. The addition of more harmony is a huge plus on this album. Also, the fact that this time around there are no English lyrics make everything so much more authentic. But even so, the album continues to be easily accessible and beautiful. Strings are very prominent in this track and give everything a very lush feeling.

'Psychopomp' is a slower and more ambient track with a repeated percussive pattern and Brendan and Lisa singing together. It closes the album on a peaceful note that resonates with the listener after all is finished.

Overall, this album has a very tribal feel, yet remains accessible and lovely throughout. If there is a band that does World Music at it's best, it is Dead Can Dance, who proved they were more than just a typical Gothic rock band, who even after all this time, still proves that they are the ones who everyone should think of when someone mentions atmospheric world music with beautiful tribal rhythms that can take you places that you may never physically visit, but still feels familiar to you. They continue to produce music that does not follow the norm, as they are not ones to follow any fad. They are authentic Prog- Folk musicians who don't compromise their sound.

Thanks to seyo for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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