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Old 08-22-2009, 05:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I finished listening to Into the Labyrinth about an hour or so ago. Absolutely loved it (brilliant second half in particular), meaning I'm pretty much sold when it comes to DCD now. Definitely gonna go for Spleen and Ideal there as a next stop in their discography now.

Keep up the great work mate. I'll be looking forward to the next one.
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Old 08-23-2009, 03:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I finished listening to Into the Labyrinth about an hour or so ago. Absolutely loved it (brilliant second half in particular), meaning I'm pretty much sold when it comes to DCD now. Definitely gonna go for Spleen and Ideal there as a next stop in their discography now.

Keep up the great work mate. I'll be looking forward to the next one.
Yes, ITL is a pretty interesting one... It has some of my favourite Perry tracks, but we will get to that later I suppose.

Either way, glad you enjoyed it, hopefully you enjoy Spleen and Ideal.
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:14 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Cheers for the heads up that you were doing this thread Zarko. A quality read. Let me know when you put up more review's as I am more than interested in your "new" takes on the brilliant career of Dead Can Dance.

I have been giving the 2 Gladiator soundtracks that Lisa Gerrard contributed to a serious listen this last week and they are very very good indeed. I see via her site that she has a new album, The Black Opal, released in September/October so hopefully she backs this with a tour. She also has a soundtrack release for the movie Balibo. I have not heard it yet but will get it as soon as I can.


The long rumoured Perry album has still yet to see the light of day. Oh well us fanatics will just have to wait I guess.
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:15 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Within the Realm of a Dying Sun (1987)



In 1987, the band released their third studio album, ‘Within the Realm of a Dying Sun’, which followed in similar vein to Spleen and Ideal. The neoclassical influence is still heavily present, but it is mixed and matched with a darker tone, reaching a point of minimalism at times. Sounds are often more distinct and individual in comparison to the large drone-ish walls of sound present in Spleen. This accommodates a largely ethereal sound present in the self titled, but reflected in a different manner. The album is also quite different to previous releases in that the album is cut into two distinct halves; One half belonging to Perry’s performances whilst the other caters to Gerrard’s talents. Each has their own four songs, with minimal interaction between the two. The album cover is from a picture taken in Paris, at the Père-Lachaise cemetery. The grave taken is of former politician Raspail.

Perry is given the first chance to shine and, as mentioned, he dominates the first half of the album. Anywhere out of the World follows the form of the band introducing albums with spectacular songs. Opening with a heavy metallic chime, the sound reverberates through the song, as other orchestral pieces are slowly introduced; once again producing an eerie choir sound similar to De Profundis.

Windfall carries an almost macabre carnival style with the import of fanciful wind based instruments and sounds. The elongated and dull sounds lend themselves well to the overall atmosphere of the album, the instrumental track the only one from the album (Another continuation from Spleen). The plodding and discreet In the Wake of Adversity does nothing particularly special but is still a nice track overall, with some solid vocals from Perry and percussion.

The first three songs seem inauspicious, and purely used as a lead up to one of Perry’s most powerful performances through his career in Xavier. Sublime story telling is ever present, as Perry seems to almost be reading from a poem of epic standards. The subtle touches to Perry’s vocals at various intervals are wonderful in the studio version, and there is not much more I can say than to listen to the song it self.


Xavier (Average quality from 1987 bootleg)

From then onwards, Gerrard takes the reins and in standard fashion, raises the standards of the album sky high. Dawn of the Iconoclasts bombasts the listener with all the marching brass and war drums in their possession before Gerrard displays the vocals, subdued and controlled by her own standards. At only two minutes in length it works well as an introduction to her work as the song builds up in vigour and alarm.

A bit more world music is infused into the goings as Cantara carries a distinct Middle Eastern tone. The slow introduction of sharp string plucks and keyboard lead way to a feverish attack, as the pace is increased and Gerrard’s exceptional vocal work begins, quite unlike anything else she has produced yet early on with sharp and high pitch singing dominating, occasionally accompanied by a male vocalist. As per normal, she is in stunning form.


Cantara (Live performance from one of their DVDs)

Summoning of the Muse continues the form, kicked off with procession music, with Gerrard producing the most dramatic song of the album. Only the ending of the album can bring about the ending to Gerrard’s consistency, as Persephone matches a wonderful balance between the previous two songs, catching some of raw beauty of Cantara and mixing it with the simple elegance of Muse in another impressive and somewhat sad finale to the album.

The album is filled with some amazing pieces of individual glory that must be checked out if you have enjoyed any of their other previous works. However, the album still suffers from a few problems overall. There is a relatively poor balance throughout the album, partially due to the fact that it was divided into the two sides so blatantly. Whilst Perry’s work seems like a developing story, with the eventual climax, Gerrard is able to suckle each and every drop from her time to make everything seem individual and unique, despite being lined up one after the other. I am not sure how much it would have helped to spread things around, but Perry seems a bit same-same until he does something special, unlike Gerrard who is always special. All things considered though, it is an underrated album by the group, with enough great moments to have it right up amongst their best.

Anywhere Out Of The World (5:07)
Windfall (3:30)
In The Wake Of Adversity (4:14)
Xavier (6:16)
Dawn Of The Iconoclast (2:06)
Cantara (5:58)
Summoning Of The Muse (4:55)
Persephone (The Gathering Of Flowers) (6:35)


In a Few Words: An obscure and somewhat forgotten album with enough special moment to earn it a tick, a solid continuation from Spleen and Ideal
Best tracks: Xavier and Cantara
Running time: ~39 minutes
Favourite Lyrics:
“These were the sins of Xavier's past”

Rating - A sycophantic 8.5/10

Last edited by Zarko; 08-31-2009 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Cheers for the heads up that you were doing this thread Zarko. A quality read. Let me know when you put up more review's as I am more than interested in your "new" takes on the brilliant career of Dead Can Dance.

I have been giving the 2 Gladiator soundtracks that Lisa Gerrard contributed to a serious listen this last week and they are very very good indeed. I see via her site that she has a new album, The Black Opal, released in September/October so hopefully she backs this with a tour. She also has a soundtrack release for the movie Balibo. I have not heard it yet but will get it as soon as I can.


The long rumoured Perry album has still yet to see the light of day. Oh well us fanatics will just have to wait I guess.
Yeah, he's sorta teased us a bit with that one hasn't he If you go to Perry's LastFM though you can listen to 'Utopia' which is one of the tracks from the new album.

I am also trying to find the stuff he has done with Peter Ulrich, but to no avail at the moment.

I am not a huge fan of her solo/other collaborations, but that is only in comparison to her DCD work. Can't really go wrong with the Gladiator soundtrack, even if the main song seems a bit 'cliche'd' nowadays. If I have enough passion though I plan to go through all their solo stuff as well though which will be mighty interesting.

Bloody little old Adelaide... No chance she comes these ways

Last edited by Zarko; 08-31-2009 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:24 AM   #16 (permalink)
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The Serpent’s Egg (1988)


By 1988 Dead Can Dance had solidified itself as one of 4AD’s top acts, and spared no time since ‘Within the Realm of a Dying Sun’ to release their next album, ‘The Serpent’s Egg’, released only 15 months later. The Serpent’s Egg added another notch to the bands repertoire of high end albums, improving the albums continuity (Despite the high point coming from the opening track) and consistency. I also love the album cover, minimalist that can represent a vast variety of things.

As mentioned, the indisputable high point comes early and it comes hard in the 6 minute presentation that is The Host of Seraphim. Opening with organs and heavy drumming, Gerrard harnesses all the power in her voice to climb ever higher. Filled with power and mystique, Gerrard captivates the listener, and holds your attention throughout. Words cannot adequately describe the song, with a performance than forces all those listening to take notice.


The Host of Seraphim

Though it would be near impossible to match the opening track, the next doesn’t necessarily attempt to, Orbis de Ignis only reaches a minute and a half in length, and is full of chanting, most obviously from Gerrard once again. For it’s length it fills the gap well. Severance is the first of many fine Perry performances, replicating the organs from the opening track, which creates an interesting repetitious vibe. Perry vocals are soft, as he delivers his lyrics poetically, whilst the overarching combination of style and sound offer a melancholic and sad resonance.


Severance (Outtake from 1989 TV show)

The Writing on My Father’s Hand offers an interesting mix of a harpsichord and Gerrard vocals, never really taking off from its minimalist beginnings, and is another personal favourite Gerrard vocal performance on the album. The song doesn’t match the sum of The Host of Seraphim or its grandiose nature, but Gerrard has drawn upon herself to introduce a heartfelt but also seducing tone to her songs. In the Kingdom of the Blind the One-Eyed Are Kings is yet another stunning track from Perry that hits hard and fast and offers no respite. As quickly as its high point has come, it once again falls back to earth at a very rapid pace. It also holds my favourite combination of lyrics and the recital of such lyrics, namely at the highpoint, Perry calling out, “You can see our chaos in motion”.


In the Kingdom of the Blind the One-Eyed Are Kings

Chant of the Paladins offers more chanting (As the title suggests) but with some very interesting aspects, with a rich and elegant combination between old folkish percussion and disturbing yet lush vocals from Gerrard. The cyclic nature of the song lends itself well to the style. Song of Sophia is a sparse section of time in which the revel can be hypnotised by Gerrard’s vocals, pure with no accompanying factors for 87 seconds. This is followed up by yet another short song of Echolalia, which reaches only 79 seconds, yet is stunning nonetheless. The album ends with two full length songs (Both going over 5 minutes in length), the first of which is Mother Tongue, the fastest paced track from the album, which harnesses the energy produced from tribal and world percussion. Just before two minutes in length, the instruments are halted, and revert to a much slower pace, allowing Gerrard’s sublime vocals to emerge from the shadows. They still, however, take a back seat to the foreign and spiritual percussion, which forever drive the song. The album ends with Ullyses, and Perry has managed to outdo all his previous work on an epic scale, in a wonderful combination of rhythmic percussion and an odd pious lyricism telling the tale of Ullyses. Needless to say, it is a track that solidifies the album as a ‘must download’.

The Serpent’s Egg is an amazing album for many reasons. Firstly, the band has managed to develop their niche of music, despite the possibility that the idea could have been stretch beyond itself after Within the Realm of a Dying Sun. Instead, the group has changed their sound subtlety to make each new album worth visiting, but they have also developed their production values and taste with more experience. Delivering from the very first punch, the album does not let go, and the listener is forced to experience all 36 glorious minutes, and as a result is left in disbelief.

The Host Of Seraphim (6:18)
Orbis De Ignis (1:35)
Severance (3:22)
The Writing On My Father's Hand (3:50)
In The Kingdom Of The Blind The One-Eyed Are Kings (4:11)
Chant Of The Paladin (3:48)
Song Of Sophia (1:24)
Echolalia (1:17)
Mother Tongue (5:16)
Ullyses (5:09)


In a Few Words: Gerrard offers the standout, but Perry owns the album.
Best tracks: The Host of Seraphim, Severance, In the Kingdom of the Blind the One-Eyed Are Kings, Mother Tongue and Ullyses.
Running time: ~36 minutes
Favourite Lyrics:
“You can see our chaos in motion”

Rating – 10/10
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Old 09-02-2009, 04:19 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Top review Zarks and who am I to disagree with a word written. The Hosts Of Seraphim is goose bump material for those that "get it". It was the song that first attracted me to Dead Can Dance. I went to see the movie Baraka on release and this was used for this visual treat of a movie. I sat there entranced. As I have said to you before it was an amazing performance be her live when she performed it and one day I hope that you have the pleasure of a concert by her.

I have gone and got the latest Gerrard film score for the movie Bilibo. She contributes her usual atmospheric soundscapes though the album is mixed with various East Timorese folk chants and a rather interesting dub version of the old Graham Parker number Don't Ask Me Questions that the Dili Allstars turn into an anti war song with some reworked lyrics. The album is not bad though nothing to get too fired up about. I actully went and bought the soundtrack prior to seeing the movie. Caught the movie last night and from a musical point of view it was a fit.

Looking forward to you next instalment.
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Old 09-02-2009, 04:33 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Top review Zarks and who am I to disagree with a word written. The Hosts Of Seraphim is goose bump material for those that "get it". It was the song that first attracted me to Dead Can Dance. I went to see the movie Baraka on release and this was used for this visual treat of a movie. I sat there entranced. As I have said to you before it was an amazing performance be her live when she performed it and one day I hope that you have the pleasure of a concert by her.

I have gone and got the latest Gerrard film score for the movie Bilibo. She contributes her usual atmospheric soundscapes though the album is mixed with various East Timorese folk chants and a rather interesting dub version of the old Graham Parker number Don't Ask Me Questions that the Dili Allstars turn into an anti war song with some reworked lyrics. The album is not bad though nothing to get too fired up about. I actully went and bought the soundtrack prior to seeing the movie. Caught the movie last night and from a musical point of view it was a fit.

Looking forward to you next instalment.
Thanks for the kind words mate. I've heard a track or two from Balibo, nothing that has gotten me excited enough to rush out and get it, but that of course is in comparison to her lofty quality.

Can only hope she comes round my ways soon.

I hope you kill the Blues this weekend as well Good luck
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Old 09-02-2009, 04:39 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I hope you kill the Blues this weekend as well Good luck
Thanks and hell yeah I could not live with the idiocy of their supporters if we went down. They are worse than that other Melbourne mob. Think of me Saturday night as I brave the chill Gabba wind
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:47 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Aion (1990)



Released 2 years after the majestic “The Serpent’s Egg” in 1990, Aion had rather large shoes to fill. By this time the previous neoclassical and melancholic tone had been well developed to its peak by the band, and it was seeking a fresher road to travel. Aion signals the introduction of a much wider medieval and folk-ish style, filled to the brim with quick songs that do their part and then breeze off into the sunset. A rapid departure at times from the ethereal Serpent’s Egg, it manages to captivate in a vastly different way. The album cover comes from the well-known Hiëronymus Bosch painting, ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’, which the band had previously alluded to, naming its first EP ‘Garden of the Arcane Delights’.

The band indicates the direction they will be heading with The Arrival and the Reunion, one and a half minutes of medieval chanting, which is spectacular and powerful on high volume. Saltarello follows this up, which is an instrumental dance from Italy, going back to the 14th century. The frenetic pace and folk sound/instrumentation makes this a favourite from the album, as it lifts the spirits. A short interlude follows, Mephisto lasting less than a minute, yet is beautiful in its subtlety and repetition.


Saltarello (Terrible live bootleg. **** you WMG)

The first hearty song comes with Songs of the Sibyl, again capturing the more classical and harmonious side of medieval type music, with Gerrard leading the proceedings. It creates the imagery of a vast church, filled with onlookers, Gerrard captivating them as the procession begins, and is another modern interpretation of a tradition song (Catalan, composed in the 16th century). Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book introduces Perry vocal-wise to the album, and he happily agrees the invitation. Beginning with minimal acoustic plucking of a guitar with a mysterious haze throughout, John Bonnar joins in on keyboard, with a whole manner of percussion building depth. The lyrics are almost read, story-like, outside of the chorus, when Perry repeats, “When you expect whistles it's flutes,
When you expect flutes it's whistles”. The song screams simplicity is often the better form of elegance.

As the Bell Rings the Maypole Spins is similarly structured, an instrument beginning in isolation (This time Gerrard’s voice) before other elements are bought in, of particular strength are the bagpipes. Despite its occasional domineering moments, the song maintains its sense of remoteness and gloominess, the basic beat and base percussion maintaining a deep beat and tone. The song has multiple small elements that are easy to pick out yet make the song all the better. These two relatively long songs are followed by The End of Words, which reaches a measly two minutes in length. It once again introduces the deep choral work, used throughout the album already, however guest vocalist David Navarro Sust is used well.

This is all a lead up to the best song on the album bar none, in Black Sun. Aggressive, fast-paced, wild, the instruments are released. Pounding drums introduce the track before hard-hitting trumpets bellow from bellow at majestic pace. Basic percussion adds amazing depth as Perry sings over the top, “Like having a black sun, in a white world.” Every factor works to perfection as Perry slowly builds up his song before entering its peak. It all goes too fast in comparison to some songs on the album.


Black Sun (Average quality, starts at about 30 seconds)

Wilderness is yet another intermission type of heavy orchestral/Gerrard vocal work. The Promised Womb uses an combination of bass and tenor violin to create an interesting and dynamic backing to Gerrard’s most focalised performance on the album. The Garden of Zephirus is a treat, despite it being a rather short one. Summoning recollection of Satyr tales in my memory, it’s a simple and short frolic through the plains. The album’s finale comes with Radharc, in yet another sensational album ending. It uses various small woodwind instruments well to create the most unique sounds on the album that take centre stage before Gerrard enters the piece in my favourite performance of hers on the album.

Aion was quite the change from their previous albums. It took a few risks, some that paid off and some that didn’t. The album, however, is interesting in its lack of creating some standout songs in my opinion. The album works well as a whole, yet there are few shining moments that are ‘must listen to’ on their own, save Black Sun, Saltarello and possibly Radharc. The album is also relatively scarce of individual vocal performances, another interesting twist from their previous works. I did have a problem with the relative shortness of songs. Few were allowed to develop, and rather hit hard from the get go with less development. This isn’t bad when used in moderation, but in this album it is used far too often, and becomes a major detriment.

The Arrival And The Reunion (1:39)
Saltarello (2:34)
Mephisto (0:54)
The Song Of The Sybil (3:45)
Fortune Presents Gifts Not According To The Book (6:30)
As The Bell Rings The Maypole Spins (5:16)
The End Of Words (2:05)
Black Sun (4:56)
Wilderness (1:24)
The Promised Womb (3:23)
The Garden Of Zephirus (1:18)
Radharc (2:48)



In a Few Words: Best appreciated in its entirety
Best track/s: Black Sun, Saltarello and Radharc
Running time: ~36 minutes
Favourite Lyrics:
“Murderer!
Man of fire.”


Rating – A collected 7/10

Last edited by Zarko; 10-20-2009 at 10:13 PM.
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