Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Album Review: Dead Can Dance.

2012, [PIAS] Records

This review was originally published on

It’s been 16 years since Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard, better known to their legions of fans as Dead Can Dance, released their last album,1996’s Spiritchaser.

After spending their post-DCD days focusing on solo albums, raising families and scoring films (Gerrard famously for Ridley Scott’s Gladiator), the gothic, exotic trance duo have returned to fine form with Anastasis, their ninth and arguably best studio album to date.

Glorious and poetically grand, Anastasis churns with an intensity woven throughout its eight tracks, with stories of rebirth, isolation, stoicism and identity. Dead Can Dance have always been a thinking person’s band, and this album is a virtual feast for the ears and the mind.

Opener “Children Of The Sun” is a psychedelic and cinematic paean to reincarnation, punched up by jazzy drums, sweeping strings and brassy horns.

“Agape” pays homage to Middle Eastern themes as Perry and Gerrard unhurriedly lure the listener through the darkened passageways and market stalls of a mysterious Persian city. Gerrard’s keening voice is like the vocal equivalent of “The Dance Of The Seven Veils” as every pinnacle and valley of her singing shine with unbridled strength.

“Opium”, the album’s darkest star, features Perry’s deep baritone accompanied by majestic synthesizers, dulcimers and tom-tom drums; “Return Of The She-King” begins life as an Irish sea shanty, but soon metamorphoses into a lush and epic theme of heroes and legends – reminding one, perhaps, of Basil Poledouris’s Orgy theme from Conan: The Barbarian.

You taught me patience was a virtue,” Perry intones solemnly on Anastasis’s closer, the appropriately titled “All In Good Time”: “So I took my time/let Nature take her course/all was revealed/all in good time.”

Truer words could not be sung. Anastasis is a damn revelation, and well worth the lengthy wait!

Here, for your general amazement, is the absolutely fabulous track, "Return Of The She-King". Enjoy!

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