Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dead Can Dance - Dead Can Dance

This week (February 27th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the self-titled debut album from the Australian band Dead Can Dance. Unlike some of their later albums, this one featured a mix of post-punk and gothic rock sounds. The album was not released in the US until March of 1994.

The musicians on the record included Brendan Perry, Lisa Gerrard, Paul Erikson, James Pinker, Scott Rodger and Peter Ulrich.

Side one begins with “The Fatal Impact”, a track with a dark and heavy mood to it that implies a societal conflict. The only “vocals” on this one are some in-the-distance chants.

“The Trial”, to me, appears to be about humanity facing the charges for crimes against itself. The vocals are hauntingly guilty as the accused is resolved to accept his fate.

“Frontier” has a very tribal rhythm to its percussion.

“Fortune”, to me, has a feeling of helplessness to it. It implies that the outcome of events can sometimes be decided by the fickle finger of fate.

“Ocean” is another track that is mostly instrumental, except some hard to decipher wailing by Gerrard.

Side two opens with “East of Eden”, a song that contrasts an up-tempo beat with a critical lyric about oppressed societies where public executions are performed by the ruling bodies to keep the rest of the people in line. I like how this one stands out musically from most of the other tracks on the record.

Another instrumental “Threshold” follows. I like how they create what sounds like a heavy downpour in the later part of it; it is like a wave that continues to wash over the listener.

“A Passage in Time” appears to mark life as an unavoidable task of drudgery until death opens the way to a return to paradise. The bass line really stands out for me on this one.

“Wild in the Woods” too paints a gloomy picture as an adult tries to enlighten a child about life’s dark side.

The original vinyl release closes with the instrumental ”Musica Eternal”.

The remastered CD edition of the album added four additional tracks.

This review was first exposure to a full album by Dead Can Dance. While I found it to be an interesting listening experience, the songs were overall a little too dark and sometimes cryptic for my tastes. I actually liked the instrumental tracks more.

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