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Dead Can Dance - Dionysus CD (album) cover


Dead Can Dance


Prog Folk

3.89 | 92 ratings

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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.

TCat | 4/5 |


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