Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Gothtober - Dead Can Dance : "Dionysus"
Written in two acts the album clocks in at 36 minutes. The first act consists of "Sea Borne" , "Liberator of Minds" and "Dance of the Bacchantes". The opening song is a dark droning piece that is almost seven minutes. It would be great for ritual, but not a song in the sense of it's something you casually listen to on your iPod in shuffle mode. It works more of the hypnotic atmosphere. It is not unusual for their songs to have this more sound track like quality. It is a wild juxtaposition to their previous album which was more accessible in it's song structure. "Liberator of Minds" does have a more serpentine groove that you could dance to if you were into touch with your more sensual primal side. In other words when it begins to move I immediately thought, my girl friend could dance to this.
At this point in the album it could be a Lisa Gerrard solo album. This is something I would have preferred when I first got into these guys , but after seeing them live I gained an appreciation for Brendan Perry. There is more motion to "the Dance of Bacchantes". Gerrard is not swinging for the fences and belting it out in a grandiose operatic manner, but using a great deal of restraint. Some of the more animalistic chants remind me of Diamanda Galas. Hearing the more Scottish influence on the opening notes to "the Mountain" I knew Brendan Perry was coming . So I was glad to hear his voice crop up. It is not what you normally expect from him as he is not singing in English and is using his voice more like an instrument than the kind of folk story telling he normally brings to the table. This song also has Gerrard accenting him in a call and response . I always like when both of them are on the same track. And so begins the second act.
Lisa returns to center stage again on "the Invocation". There is more of a middle eastern flavor to the modes of this song. It also finds a sensual groove. "the Forest" finds Perry singing in his higher register. I always think of him as a baritone , but here he gets up there in an almost androgynous fashion without going into falsetto. They give another call and response on the darker and moodier trance like pulse of " Psychopomp". This album is almost ebbing and flowing like a DMT trip as here is more of a simmering after math from being shot up into more sublime grooves. They were successful at what they intended to do , while I miss the more folk elements of what Brendan does, I respect this album and you can't argue against it as there is no one who does what they do so masterfully so even though I went into this wanting something more song oriented that crafted something truly otherworldly here.