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Dead Can Dance - Dead Can Dance CD (album) cover


Dead Can Dance


Prog Folk

3.32 | 92 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The eponymous debut of DCD will surely surprise and probably shock the majority of prog-heads present on this site. This is particularly true for those who still keep believing that punk killed prog and other nonsense... and who had serious difficulties to understand, appreciate and make a brave leap from the 1970s on to the 1980s. Instead of sticking with the long-time worn out formats of YES and GENESIS and following their traces in usually unconvicing and over-produced works of neo-prog, they seem to neglect that the real adventure lied elsewhere.

Post-punk, in general terms, provided a vast expansion of creative energy during the 1980s and was influential to many different sub-genres of so-called alternative rock, including some very experimental and avant-gardistic musical appearances (like later post rock). DCD were clearly a part of this scene, sharing the aesthetics of other important 4AD acts like COCTEAU TWINS, THIS MORTAL COIL and the likes. And yes, the influence of so-called gothic rock as defined by early JOY DIVISION, BAUHAUS or later THE CURE, was obvious.

Actually this was the last time DCD performed as a rock band in a conventional meaning of the word. Guitar, bass and drums are here, the beat is present.... but still, it is even here the atmosphere (very dark one, no doubt) that counts, and the sound textures that are more ear-catching. Vocals of Perry and Gerard are perhaps not sufficiantly used or performed on this album, but what we can hear is really unique style of Lisa Gerrard that she would perfect on later albums.

The opening instrumental The Fatal Impact presents the darkest side of DCD, with pulsing bass lines and noisy guitar chords - this is one of the defining moments of the duo. The Trial has the clearest post-punk remnants in the rhythm structure and guitar riffs and speed, while Frontier already contains sort of world fusion electronic-ambient textures and ethnic percussions followed by wonderful voice of Lisa -the style that was to characterise their later works. East of Eden brings a gentle melodic bass progression and is one of the least melancholic songs on the album. A Passage in Time is a brilliant piece with Perry's vocals and spacey guitar textures similar to those SIMPLE MINDS perfected on their early albums (up to Sparkle In The Rain, 1983).

During the 1980s many devout prog rockers simply failed to follow what was going on around them, desperately looking for YES, GENESIS or FLOYD to come up with something decent. Alas, we all know this did not happen, and the most of classic old prog bands produced nothing but garbage in this period. Experiencing the new wave/post punk boom in Yugoslavian music scene of the period, I was able to stay on both tracks - and trust me, the real progressive music (with lots of energy, fresh ideas, songwriting, concepts...) was to be found within the scene DEAD CAN DANCE participated in.

Many of you will probably dislike this album (and here I offer slightly different perspective from our distinguished collaborator Hughues ;)) and you have every right to feel that way. But, if you like the dark side of prog, be it in any various form like VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, BLACK SABBATH, AMON DUUL II or PINK FLOYD, give it a try and listen to DCD! Then, you can judge yourself.


P.A. RATING: 4/5

Seyo | 4/5 |


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