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Dead Can Dance - Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun CD (album) cover


Dead Can Dance


Prog Folk

4.11 | 216 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
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.
TCat | 4/5 |


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