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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 13 August 2012
First up, let me say that I have been a devoted fan of DCD since the early 1980s, and I have all their solo recordings (although not all of Gerrard's many film scores) too. So this is a great year for me: a new album and a world tour.

I was tempted to say that the title of the review is enough: if you know the band, you will know what you're getting. However, that's not enough, for two reasons. Firstly, which DCD is this? The goth orchestral group of Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun (Remastered), the medieval group of Aion or the world music mashup group of Spiritchaser (Answer, it's the latter)? Secondly, it's been so long since the last album that a whole generation has grown up without the band that it's worth writing a more extensive review in the hope that others will discover a truly unique band.

Dead Can Dance are Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry. Gerrard is a singer with an almost supernatural voice - her range and ability to change tone make her virtually incomparable in 'popular' music - only Elizabeth Fraser comes close. She is also now an accomplished composer and collaborator, her work on the Gladiator soundtrack being her big breakthrough. Brendan Perry is a different character altogether - a multi-instrumentalist with a particular fascination for rhythm and 'blessed' with a voice made for a goth opera, he has always been the less prominent member of the pair, but it's clear from their solo work that Perry brings a huge amount to the party.

The good news is that this is everything that a Dead Can Dance album should be - the rich orchestration, the pounding drums, Brendan Perry fighting his corner, and Lisa Gerrard doing her beautiful, miraculous thing.

But what kind of record is this? Well, in truth it feels like two albums stitched together. The tracks on which Gerrard sings sound very much like DCD's last album Spiritchaser - a perfect mixture of Gerrard's spectral vocals, middle-eastern orchestration and heavy and complex percussion. Honestly, no-one has ever come close to bettering these guys, and thirty years on from their first success, a fair few have tried.

Perry's tracks are more of a mixed bag. He is clearly insistent on having an equal contribution vocally, which seems unwise when one is going up against one of the greatest singers of all time. What Perry's rather more basic singing does is highlight the simple song structures that he employs. 'Opium' uses a repetitive descending minor chord sequence that you've heard a thousand times before: DCD have always used simple chord sequences repeated ad infinitum, but Gerrard's melodies overcame any weakness in that approach; here Perry's voice and melodies cannot hide the occasional lack of a creative spark. Nonetheless, if you like Perry's solo album Ark, then you will like his contributions here.

Penultimate track 'Return of the She-King' stands out from the rest, being the one track where both singers contribute lead vocals, and having a significant change of tone. The track leads with pipes and a celtic feel. When Gerrard sings, it is very reminiscent of DCD's 'early music' period. That's no bad thing, except that now I am listening to The Serpent's Egg rather than the new album, which isn't so good. I'm still undecided on this track - it's the one time when the percussion track is banal, and it makes the music feel ever so slightly 'twee manufactured celtic pop' when Gerrard is not singing.

This is a Dead Can Dance album - praise be! - but so far it has not grabbed by heart and mind like most of the others. But I will give it plenty of time. They are a unique blending of talents and sensibilities, and they certainly deserve my - and your - attention.
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on 5 September 2012
This is music for the soul and it is just as good as anything they have released before. Almost a masterpiece and a very welcome return to form. But then again, they have never let me down and they have never released a bad album, so this was to be expected. If you like Dead Can Dance, there really is no reason to hesitate and not buy this cd. It's great and moving.
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on 26 September 2012
They're back. Big majestic sound - check! Portentous doomy chords - check! Ultra-lush production values with reverb set to 'large galaxy' - check! Self-deprecating sense of humour - what?

What else can explain the truly bonkers lyrics? After all this time Brendan must have had a chance to observe DCD from the outside and been granted some form of objectivity. Because straight away with opening track we get these lines:

We are ancients
As ancient as the sun
We came from the ocean
Once our ancestral home
So that one day
We could all return
To our birthright
The great celestial dome

Bloody hilarious. A wonderful, overblown, pompous satire on the DCD of old delivered with his trademark voice which is less Zeus of Mt Olympus and more Graham of Surbiton.

But who cares when it's all this wonderful? Track 3 entitled 'Agape' is a good example of the stately, exotic and gorgeously produced stuff we want from DCD. So what if it's not exactly breaking new ground? Everything's in place and the moonlit ceremonial cauldron is surrounded by dark and hooded figures which chant beneath the great celestial dome and are alight and burning bright in the crisp midnight air amidst the stark winter trees that crack the star encrusted heavens which formed the mother cradle from which we burst full-bloomed but blinking in the light of eternity etc etc etc.
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on 19 February 2013
A new album by DCD! After only 16 years wait! Brilliant!

Actually, it was with some trepidation that I picked this one up since I wasn't that keen on Spiritchaser (the last one). The good news, to my ear at least, is that this is more like the style of DCD of old - Lisa Gerrard is magnificent and ethereal, particularly on 'Return of the She-King' and even Brendan Perry (whose vocals I am less keen on) turns in a good performance.

I remember listening to them as a student back in the 1980s and it's the same sort of sound, if only more layered and sure of itself. Give it a try. I don't think you will be disappointed.
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All the elementals are there, so in places it soars, but at first it appeared a cache of soul had gone for a wonder.

However repeated listenings brings out all the multiple textures especially on a decent system. It is an album of layers sung into a masculine and feminine timbre half, anima and animus, masc and fem, light and day.

Perry's voice takes on the cadences of Ian Curtis and then lets them drift into the hollow space. Lisa dips and soars with the majesty of a sprite, whilst he skims across the surface. Great delivery, great sounds when blasted through the speakers to bring out the full orchestral panoply.

Within the background the music shines, glistens lilts and brings constant surprises. Far from being background music, this plays the theme tunes to a silent night between the silk sheets, as the opium pipe, left to languish burns itself at two ends. Meanwhile the bed creaks in time to the silent slithers of Anastasis.

Well we can all dream and this assists.
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on 5 February 2013
Literally can't stop playing this album. Haunting and beguiling as you'd expect from Dead Can Dance, but very layered - no two listens are the same. Wonderful album from a band that transcended genre a while ago. Interesting sounds (Lisa Gerrard's voice is as sublime as ever), ideas and images, drawing from Ancient Greek concepts and the collective unconscious....it's that kind of album. Truly brilliant.
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on 27 April 2013
Splean and ideal was the first album i bought on vinyl back in the day so I can say that I am a little bit of a veteren of dcd. The new album was a bit of a better sound since the band split after the spirit chaser album which I thought struggled. Lisa gerrard has always done her little bit with such a great voice and Brenden perry's opium has echoes of black sun. It is funny how the two of them even though having successful solo careers being back together again touch a note that neither of them could achieve on their own. I was a litle disappointed to learn that the bonus disc is only an edited version of the two disc live concert as the pre order advertisment stated it to be a single disc. A little bit of bad advertising means that who ever now wants the full concert will have to buy the concert seperatly ,so please be aware of this. None the less saying that considdering that it is a bonus disc you can't really complain.The Inner sleave lists the musicians and bit about the dcd tour for the big fans.
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on 6 May 2014
Take a few handfuls of those moments when Dead Can Dance made you pause everything you were doing.
Add more than a few dashes of vocals to remind of who these people were and are beside their solo works.
Push the envelope, shove the envelope of the heavy cathedral drama older sounds through an ear shaped letterbox of sharp modern clarity bursting from the edges to the centre.
Garnish with Perry and Gerrard vocals breaching the anthemic titan backgrounds, best matured in oak barrels for thirty years but who's counting...if you thought genres could be defined, guess again batman...

Not sorrowful enough for sudden teenagers perhaps, but certainly strikes minor chords & planetary fusions of melody sufficient to attract new bod's to the fold. Big. Wrapping sound, envelopey yet spare in content. A spartan lushness! Ah, dormant sunflowers, under a fierce sky. Yes, do this some more please my merely momentary, occidental ears, have been much pleased. Might require repeated consumption in order to appease the palate.
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on 4 November 2012
Dead Can Dance have produced beautiful, haunting, ethereal music over the years, sometimes light and uplifting, sometimes dark and sinister and this album is no exception. From the opening 'Children of the Sun' with Brendan Perry's rich vocals and building synths to 'Agape' and Lisa Gerrard's almost otherworldly voice. The album blends ancient and modern influences with ancient and modern instruments. If you want to listen to music that at times transports you to another world and at others into the past of this one, then this album is for you.
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on 9 April 2013
Being a fan of Dead Can Dance since the eighties I was taken by surprise that they have actually recorded a new CD after such a long silence whilst pursuing their solo projects. The CD confirms the most amazing talent of those exeptional musicians who strived to be different. Their unique style, attempted to be copied by so many is still at the forefront of most amazing music that my ears have ever heard. This CD is no exeption. Mysterious atmosphere from the very first notes of their haunting music continues all throughout the CD. I can listen to them over and over again... If you have never heard of them - you have not lived! Listen and be spellbound! Highly recommeded music
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