Monday, April 03, 2006

A Dark Age for World Music

Dead Can Dance (DCD) is not a metal band. Nor are they a rock outfit, punk, pop or Dance group. However, they introduced a style of music that's very unique, and inadvertently broaden my Metal music experience. But first let me try a paint a DCD picture for you. I tried doing a review for Dead Can Dance for a highschool paper and failed at conveying their uniqueness. Something was printed for the issue, but I was not satisfied. Now, over 10 years later I'll try again. Dead Can Dance are in the World Music category with a Gothic edge. There it is. That's the most basic description I can think of. Consisting of 2 people, Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard and a bunch of ancient, ethnic instruments, they have created a catalogue of music that's diverse yet uniquely DCD. The albums I've chosen to review are "A Passage In Time" and "Dead Can Dance".

I've decided to do 2 today, because these albums were the first of their's I owned and mellowed me out for years. "A Passage In Time" is a collection of works from previously released albums and unreleased tracks (though it features no songs from there first album). I had a taped copy of a friends CD for this album and only just purchased the CD recently. This is a great introduction into the DCD catalogue, because it features a number of their early albums. It has a very gothic sound with a bit of a tribal beat especially with songs like "Saltarello", "Cantara". They have a very ethnic/worldly feel. Lisa's vocals are haunting and piercing. On songs "The Host Of Seraphim" and "Song of Sophia" they are bone chilling and certainly the reason why they are popular amongst Goths (You can also get a sampling of her vocals on the Gladiator soundtrack). She just tears into your soul. Brendan Perry also takes a stab at Chant-like vocals on "Ulyses". Though his standard baritone vocals are fantastic and really shine on "In The Kingdom of the Blind, The One-eyed are Kings" whew, now that's a song title.

This is DCD's first album, and though you can see the stylistic Dead Can Dance sound it lacks in it's simplicity and rockier sounds, Like with tracks "The Trial" and "In Power We Entrust The Love advocated". It is still a good album, but I think Lisa and Brendan were not completely happy with the final sound. It is very different from the other albums. Lisa's signature vocals are present on "Frontier" and "Musica Eterna". "Frontier" is probably the closest to DCD's future sound as well as "Flowers of the Sea".

Dead Can Dance's World Music/Gothic/folk sound really stuck with me and that's why I really enjoy Folk Metal such as Finntroll, Elvenking, and Suidakra. And the ancient feel of the songs moved me to explore my own heritage with Viking Metal such as Einherjer, Thyrfing, and Moonsorrow. However, before I get into those, I thought with the recent opening of the Lord Of The Rings the Musical I will feature a number of LOTR's based heavy metal albums. First up? Battlelore. The most hardcore LOTR's bands I know.... You'll see what I mean....


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