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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


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

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

3.31 | 91 ratings
Dead Can Dance
1984
3.64 | 114 ratings
Spleen And Ideal
1985
4.09 | 184 ratings
Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun
1987
3.82 | 153 ratings
The Serpent's Egg
1988
3.40 | 129 ratings
Aion
1990
3.94 | 140 ratings
Into The Labyrinth
1993
3.23 | 86 ratings
Spiritchaser
1996
3.82 | 141 ratings
Anastasis
2012
3.89 | 80 ratings
Dionysus
2018

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

4.28 | 62 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 | 41 ratings
Toward The Within
1994

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

3.37 | 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
 Aion by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.40 | 129 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 mediŠval 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.

 Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1987
4.09 | 184 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.

 The Serpent's Egg by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.82 | 153 ratings

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The Serpent's Egg
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by NickCrimsonII

2 stars 'The Serpent's Egg' was released in 1988 and serves as the third and final installment of the band's trilogy that features also the previous two records. The trilogy would, of course, shape the band's sound and would help them build their identity and the sound they are known for. However, 'The Serpent's Egg' is the most disappointing of the tree, it sounds uninspired, overly minimalist and austere. It lacks the compelling soundscapes of the two preceding albums, the rhythms that made some of the songs addictive and memorable. Lisa Gerrard's vocals are prevalent on the record and this is one of the reasons for which, I believe, the album fails to excite me at all. It is an obvious shift from the rest of the trilogy towards a more chant-oriented songs which is another reason why the albums is wreathed in humdrum. Most of the songs feel like a painful dragging and are barely listenable with the only decent track being 'Severance'. It is a poor record that, I guess, could be enjoyed only by the diehard fans of Dead Can Dance. 2/5
 Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1987
4.09 | 184 ratings

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

Review by NickCrimsonII

4 stars Dead Can Dance's third studio album 'Within The Realm of a Dying Sun' was released on the 27 July 1987. It is the follow-up to the excellent 'Spleen and Ideal', and is the second installment in what is considered to be the band's trilogy of ethereal and dark masterpieces (including also 1988's 'Serpent's Egg'). And sonically, this album really feels like the logical continuation of its precedent. It is once again compelling, overly dark and spiritual, mantric, and dismal. This time, however, the album is vocally split, with Perry's vocals dominating the first four tracks, and Gerrard's vocals being prominent in the remaining four. In a way, drawing an invisible line between the division of the two beginnings - the male and the female, denoting somewhat of difference between the two soundscapes that could possibly envelop the two halves. 'Anywhere Out of the World' is the first track of the album and feels like it was exactly taken from 'Spleen and Ideal'. It is the perfect and adequate opener for this album, setting the mood that is prevalent in all of the trilogy. 'Windfall' is an entirely instrumental track that is quite mysterious in a sublime manner. 'In The Wake of Adversity' is another gripping song, slower and neat, more on the mantric spectrum of the Dead Can Dance sound palette. 'Xavier' is the most folky and spiritual sounding track of the ones featuring Perry's vocals. It finishes off his part of the record in a rigorous but captivating spirit. 'Dawn of the Iconoclast' is the 2-minute grandiose opener of the second part of the album, with the recognisable prayer-like vocal style of Lisa Gerrard on display. 'Cantara' seems to follow the mysterious fashion of 'Windfall', kind of creating a mirrored image of what the first half of the album was in terms of sound. The same applies for the next song, 'Summoning of the Muse'. However, it is not as compelling as it counterpart from the first half of the album. The last track is 'Persephone' and it solidifies the impression I get of the second part of the record - of being the more ambient and minimalist side of Dead Can Dance. Still, it is a really solid album that continues what 'Spleen and Ideal' set as a sonic model and what would be the unmistakable sound of the duo. It is also an album that takes its time to consume. 3.75/5
 Spleen And Ideal by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.64 | 114 ratings

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Spleen And Ideal
Dead Can Dance Prog Folk

Review by NickCrimsonII

4 stars Spleen and Ideal is the second album by Australian atmospheric art rock duo Dead Can Dance, released in 1985. It is in contrast with their post-punk debut album. Spleen and Ideal is a very masterful, atmospheric, and dark piece of music, combining interesting influences - neoclassical darkwave (which is what the band is generally described as, despite the fact that neoclassical darkwave means almost nothing), art rock, ambient, and folk music, draping their sound in "constructed soundscapes of mesmerising grandeur and solemn beauty" (in this case, this seems to be the perfect description of what they sound like), but also creating chant- and mantra-like pieces. Some sounding like they were made for a dark psycho-horror movie, and others sounding like religious pieces, or even prayers. The duo consists of Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry which do all the vocals and almost all of the instrumentation. The album contains many interesting tracks, and the ones that definitely grabbed my attention and had me hooked (even addicted) are 'Ascension', 'The Cardinal Sin', 'Advent', 'Indoctrination'. It is one of the most haunting and audacious albums I've ever heard, it has a very distinct "face", some kind of a very attractive character - dark, beautiful, calm, and yet disturbing, powerful, and elegiac, and still, one cannot easily and clearly describe its style or why it is so alluring. I believe this album is a great addition to any prog rock collection whether one is into such dark music, or not. 4.5/5, it is merely mesmerising how this was released in '85. It feels like one of these timeless records that will shine on brightly with excellence for ages.
 Dionysus by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 80 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 | 80 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 mediŠval 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 MystŔre 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 ß 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 | 80 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.

 Dionysus by DEAD CAN DANCE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 80 ratings

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Dionysus
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
3.64 | 27 ratings

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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.

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

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