Author Topic: Drone On's review of "Anastasis" CD by Dead Can Dance  (Read 1333 times)

drone on

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Drone On's review of "Anastasis" CD by Dead Can Dance
« on: August 15, 2012, 10:35:18 AM »
It's been 16 years since a new recording from Dead Can Dance.  I can remember waiting in line at midnight at Tower Records for their last three releases (1996's Spiritchaser, the live album "Toward the Within", and 1993's "Into the Labyrinth).  So of course I had to get this one on the day of release (8/14/2012)!!!

The album is self-released by Dead Dan Dance but they got a distribution deal with PIAS (Play It Again Sam) so it is widely available.  I believe you can get it for $9.99 right now at Amazon.  The CD is released in a digipak with booklet containing lyrics and great cover imagery of some withered sunflower looking things.  The title "Anastasis" is Greek for "rebirth" (appropriate); in fact a few of the track titles are Greek (e.g. Agape, meaning Love). 

Of course the music industry is still (wrongly) categorizing DCD as "world" and "new age."  Ha!  True fans know they started out as a goth band on 4AD and incorporated ancient sounds and instruments into their music.  Unfortunately, I think with the more mass exposure to their music, DCD's music started to focus too much on this "world" element; almost everything was tribal sounding, and the guitars and orchestral arrangements got pushed back into the shadows. 

To me, "Anastasis" is a return to form to their rock and classical roots explored on albums like "Spleen and Ideal" and "Within the Realm of a Dying Sun."   

(PART Two of my review coming, to be continued--this is being written at work, and I gotta go!)  ;)

drone on

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Re: Drone On's review of "Anastasis" CD by Dead Can Dance
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 11:20:33 AM »
REVIEW CONTINUED

Check out the military snare of album opener "Children of the Sun."  This kind of percussion has been missing from DCD's repertoire for too long.  Good to see a Brendan Perry vocal on the lead track as well!  This is an optimistic and celebratory song but with dark undertones and commentaries about past ancient secrets being buried and their relevance to the future of the human race.  Great lyrics here.  Perry's Jim Morrison influence comes through clear at the end of the song.  Nice backing vox from Lisa Gerrard and also her yang chin. 

"Anabasis" hands the mic over to Lisa Gerrard.  This is your typical sinewy eastern-tinged Gerrard track, with piano, yang chin, orchestral melodics, nature samples, Perry's electric guitar, and exotic percussion. 

"Agape" is another Gerrard piece, now with a more pronounced middle-eastern feel.  I like how Perry weaves in his electric guitar again for a sound reminiscent of the duo's self-titled debut album.  I love the haunting fadeout on this track due to some sound processing, giving it a ghostly ambience. 

Perry's song "Amnesia" follows; it's the first single from the album and is a mini-masterpiece of a song.  Here the theme of a civilization losing touch with its ancient past comes to the forefront yet again.  This piece could have fit onto "Spleen and Ideal", DCD's second LP, easily, with its rolling rock drums, piano, and symphonic horns and synths. 

"Kiko" follows, and IMO, the best track on this album.  A mesmerizing tribal rock drum pattern pounds away, Perry's electric guitar plucks desert-sand patterns, and Lisa Gerrard seductively croons in her special "non-language."  The final two minutes of the piece, Perry's guitar "solos" in an amazingly powerful passage, reminding me of the eternal and timeless "In Power We Entrust the Love Advocated," from the debut album.  "Kiko" is one of the best DCD tracks to date. 

"Opium" is another excellent Perry song, with the drug being a metaphor for the escape the protagonist wants to make from his life and the desire to start anew. 

"Return of the She-King" is a duet between Perry and Gerrard, upbeat and majestic.  A really perfect track. 

Perry closes the album with the quietly effective "All in Good Time," where he seems to be having a conversation with God about his life.  An extremely optimistic piece and conclusion to an album with its fair share of shadows.

Overall, "Anastasis" is a long overdue return to a style DCD hasn't covered in many years, making it their best release since "The Serpent's Egg."  The album flows beautifully from track to track, with impeccable production.  Welcome back Brendan and Lisa!!!  There have been indications of another DCD work following this in the not-too-distant future.  Fingers crossed...In the meantime, I highly recommend this fine album.     


jkn

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Re: Drone On's review of "Anastasis" CD by Dead Can Dance
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2012, 09:22:28 AM »
I remember buying "Within the Realm" on vinyl when it came out.   Oh wow - so good.  Glad they came back together and that you're liking it so much - I may have to listen to the samples and maybe pick this up.
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