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Prog Folk • Australia

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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 Videos (YouTube and more)

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Pias America 2018
$13.27 (used)
Pias America 2014
$9.98 (used)
Into The LabyrinthInto The Labyrinth
4AD 2016
$16.00 (used)
The Serpent's EggThe Serpent's Egg
4AD 2017
$22.34 (used)
Spiritchaser (Remastered)Spiritchaser (Remastered)
4AD 2008
$8.27 (used)
4AD 2017
$23.92 (used)
Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun (Remastered)Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun (Remastered)
4AD 2008
$9.99 (used)
Spleen And Ideal (Remastered)Spleen And Ideal (Remastered)
4AD 2008
$5.46 (used)
Dead Can DanceDead Can Dance
4AD 2016
$22.34 (used)
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Dead Can Dance Into the Labyrinth (CD, Sep-1993, 4AD (USA)) USD $5.99 Buy It Now
Lisa Gerrard The Mirror Pool (CD, Aug-1995, 4AD (USA) Dead Can Dance Solo Uk 4ad USD $14.99 Buy It Now
Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke The Insider (CD, Oct-1999) Dead Can Dance Solo USD $7.49 Buy It Now
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3h 35m
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3h 36m
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3h 38m
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3h 39m
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3h 41m
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4h 23m
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4h 25m
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5h 19m
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DEAD CAN DANCE discography

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

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

3.31 | 87 ratings
Dead Can Dance
3.60 | 104 ratings
Spleen And Ideal
4.08 | 169 ratings
Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun
3.85 | 141 ratings
The Serpent's Egg
3.34 | 118 ratings
3.93 | 126 ratings
Into The Labyrinth
3.21 | 79 ratings
3.79 | 133 ratings
3.87 | 56 ratings

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

4.28 | 57 ratings
Toward The Within
2.83 | 21 ratings
In Concert

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

3.60 | 39 ratings
Toward The Within

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

3.35 | 32 ratings
A Passage In Time
4.63 | 18 ratings
Dead Can Dance (1981-1998)
4.42 | 19 ratings
3.50 | 10 ratings
Memento: The Very Best of Dead Can Dance

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

3.65 | 27 ratings
Garden Of The Arcane Delights
3.21 | 9 ratings
Live Happenings - Part 1
3.22 | 8 ratings
Live Happenings - Part 2
3.23 | 7 ratings
Live Happenings - Part 3
3.23 | 7 ratings
Live Happenings IV
3.21 | 5 ratings
Live Happenings - Part V
4.50 | 2 ratings
Mosaic (Early demos)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dionysus by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.87 | 56 ratings

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
3.87 | 56 ratings

Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Dionysus by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.87 | 56 ratings

Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars DEAD CAN DANCE started out all the way back in 1981 and would eventually captivate the world with their unique blend of African rhythms, Celtic folk touches, ethereal otherworldly atmosphere and dualistic vocal approach of Lisa Gerrard's tender angelic siren effects alternating with Brenden Perry's suave crooning sensuality remnant of a mix of Frank Sinatra and Chris Isaak. While they may have had their heyday in the 80s and 90s, they have proved themselves not to be a relic of the past when they emerged from nowhere with 2012's "Anastasis" which found former full band turned duo revisiting their neoclassical darkwave past that slipped away on 1996's "Spiritchaser." While the band hadn't abandoned the richness of the world music smorgasbord effect that they had so deftly thrown in the salad bowl, it was great to hear the darkened 80s atmospheric touches that made them stand out from the alternative pack.

While "Anastasis" may have seemed like a one off and as time elapsed possibly the last artifact to emerge from this now classic musical act, lo and behold DEAD CAN DANCE rise from the grave for a night on the town with their newest ethnically fused neo- darkwave of the 21st century, DIONYSUS, which is a concept album that unfolds a two act set of mini-suites. With a decorated past that began in gothic rock and then experimental neoclassical darkwave which finally gave way to a complete emergence into ethnic worldbeat, it would've been impossible to predict where DEAD CAN DANCE would go next if anywhere. Well, after finally releasing a new unexpected album to an unsuspecting public so late in their game (Gerrard is married in Australia while Perry resides in Ireland), it is a thrill to find that they have taken a cue from much of their past minus the goth thing unfortunately.

Once the initial atmospheric touches lead the way, the groove immediately takes us on a polyrhythmic journey with African beats, Middle Eastern musical scales, wind instruments, Gaelic folk and finally Gerrard's vocal style reminiscent of the Bulgarian Women's Choir with the distinct Eastern Orthodox polyphonic chanting style. After the first act nears its completion and i cogitate upon the concept of a tribute to DIONYSUS who was the ancient Greek god of wine accompanied by one ethnically infused cadence after another, it finally occurs to me: DEAD CAN DANCE have become the acoustic equivalent of the psybient electro group Shpongle! While not as brash and far reaching as the electronic duo from the UK, DEAD CAN DANCE provides the same mesmerizing groove that seamlessly weaves myriad cultures as if they are the conductors on the world's playground and it's time for recess.

Rhythmically speaking, DIONYSUS has much more in common with the overall flow of the album "Spiritchaser" as it has a slow and steady groove that marches along nonchalantly as it's joined by the the rest of the world showcasing their musical contributions to humanity. Atmospherically though, the duo brings back some of that deliciously darkened neoclassical darkwave ambience so deftly dominant on albums like "Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun." Vocally, this one is pretty much wordless (in English at least) and vocals are only present to provide supplemental instrumentation. While Gerard dominates "Act I," Perry finally joins in on "Act II" where the duo provide a call and response effect that is surely summoning the proper gods for more wine! DIONYSUS is truly the Gerard and Perry show. They play all the instruments heard and the ethnic musical styles range from Iranian and Turkish folk to Byzantine chant, Balkan and Greek folk and their usual ambient and new age atmospheric dressing.

After all is listened to and done, it is apparent that nobody can crank out an ethnically charged quite like the dualistic synergy of Lisa Gerrard and Brenden Perry. While clearly not as dark or anywhere as gothic as their earliest recordings, DIONYSUS is a beautifully presented journey into the beauty of planet Earth through music. The music creates a fairly danceable (in a bellydance sort of way) rhythmic parade into the world of ethnic folk which implements many sounds from field recordings to augment the authenticity of this caravan throughout the world. While some may find this to be a tad cheesy and belongs on something like the Putumayo label or something, i would have to wholeheartedly disagree but then again i'm an ethnomusicologist at heart and have a soft spot for exotic musical sounds from all across the world and this one delivers a masterful mix of those sounds in perfect harmony without missing a beat. While i personally liked "Spiritchaser," this one is a bit more dynamic and diverse. In short, a great comeback.

 Garden Of The Arcane Delights by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
3.65 | 27 ratings

Garden Of The Arcane Delights
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars DEAD CAN DANCE found their break in London in early 1984 when they were signed to 4AD Records which released their eponymously titled debut in February. The band started out completely differently than what they would become known for. On the first album, the band was more in sync with bands like The Cure and The Cocteau Twins as they delivered a unique blend of gothic rock mixed with dream pop and 80s underground alt rock techniques, however hiding in the nooks and crannies were plenty of the ethnic influences that would dominate their later albums and help define them as one of the most original bands of all the 80s.

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

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

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

 Dead Can Dance by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.31 | 87 ratings

Dead Can Dance
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Once upon a time, DEAD CAN DANCE was a nebulous concept in the founding members' fertile imaginations that had not yet transpired all the way down under in their native Australia before forming in 1981. Long before the Australian turned British act that would relocate to London and become one of the most successful experimental neoclassical dark folk ambient musical acts of all time, this ethnic inspired fusion band would emerge quite differently. Originally founded as a quartet with not only Lisa Gerrard (ex- Microfilm) and Breden Perry (ex-Marching Girls), but would also include Paul Erikson on bass and Simon Monroe (also of Marching Girls). Once in the UK however, Monroe would soon be replaced by Peter Ulrich who was a multi-instrumentalist, a trait shared by many members of the band throughout the years.

While DEAD CAN DANCE is best known for their unique experimental approach on the timeless ethnic infused style of neoclassical darkwave wrapped in ethereal ambient dressing, the band initiated their humble beginnings as an early 80s post-punk band with extra helpings of gothic rock and darkened dream pop. It didn't take long after they landed a record deal with the alternative rock label 4AD and release their eponymously titled debut in 1984. While clear influences that range from The Cure and The Cocteau Twins are at full front on album #1, DEAD CAN DANCE emerged as a rather unique sounding band right out of the gates with a dreamier space pop based production that fortified a rather darkened ambient atmospheric presence. Despite the gothic touches, DCD was already showing signs of its love for ethnic folk and international flavors in not only the music but by the ritual mask from Papua New Guinea that the album cover sported alongside Greek letters that added an artistic flair to their name.

Despite DCD founding as a band, the pecking order was quickly established since back then Gerrard and Perry were a couple who clearly dominated the musical development with their own sense of direction. Some things were already set at this stage, namely Gerrard and Perry would tradeoff vocals with one track featuring Perry's rather one-trick-pony style of his famous Frank Sinatra type crooning augmented with a touch of new wave hipness from the likes of Paul Humprheys from Orchestral Monoeuvres In The Dark. Lisa Gerrard, on the other hand, has always been the showcase with her sly as a fox adaptability vocally speaking and on this debut, she perfectly blends her ethereal feminine touch to the darkened space pop fueled Gothy darkwave with ease. In fact, the tracks that feature her remarkably resemble a Cocteau Twins edge especially from the "Victorialand" phase which wasn't released for several years yet. The gothic touches mostly result from the frigid industrial beats accompanied by a thick atmospheric haze.

Despite all the references to the contemporary alt rock scene in the form of goth and dream pop, DEAD CAN DANCE were already incorporating world influences from the beginning. On this debut there are ample samplings of Indian percussion and Celtic folk stringed instruments. Despite all the little touches that in hind sight point the direction in which the band would be heading, the clear and dominate sound of this debut is clearly the heavy rock guitar which makes this album not only the band's heaviest but also the only one that clearly could be exist in the rock universe. Having coming to this debut well after all the albums that follow, what struck me most was how Perry pretty much sounds exactly the same despite the radically different instrumentation swirling around his singing style whereas Gerrard was already an extraterrestrial angelic force with talents too great to be contained by the somewhat forced display of musical performances in a rock music prison.

While the DEAD CAN DANCE debut is clearly the odd album out of their eclectic canon with its primeval focus on the early 80s underground, it is an eerily entrancing album nonetheless and an excellent display of experimental touches being teased out within the context of the era. Clearly the more inspiring albums that followed would garner international attention and success for their total out of the box unorthodoxies, but the debut album by DEAD CAN DANCE remains a musical mastery in its own right for its interesting blend of gothic grooves, dream pop atmospheric and sprinklings of ethnic influences that would become more prominent very quickly. For my money, this debut is just as interesting as many early Cure albums and much better than some of the Cocteau Twins lackluster offerings. While the album may not be as cohesive as others from the era, it doesn't suffer from the barrage of ideas finding their way into the mix as they aren't stuffed into every nook and cranny. Instead the music is composed as rather period piece and fortified with experimental offerings. This one is very much worth exploring.

 Anastasis by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 133 ratings

Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by Pieromcdo

5 stars Well a different Style by it self Lisa Gerrard amazing voice ,a musical instrument of the voice (no words but sound) this is on the smooth side of the progressive music this album bring what I like the most of Dead Can Dance the sound of meditative profound experience that only Gerrard bring ( thier are a lot of other one but she is herself in this style )( if your looking for hard to find music [email protected] ) I saw Dead Can Dance at St Denis theater she was 10 feet from me Wow This album is more related to the kind of soundtrack ( Gladiator ) but I love it Pierre
 Anastasis by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 133 ratings

Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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!
 Anastasis by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 133 ratings

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.

 In Concert by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Live, 2013
2.83 | 21 ratings

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.

 Spiritchaser by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.21 | 79 ratings

Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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

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