Friday, 12 February 2016

Dead Can Dance "The Serpent's Egg" (1988)

Following up on the riveting "Aion" we take a step back to Australian duo Dead Can Dance's forth record released two years prior. The band are still in their recreational spirit, creating inspired, immersible atmospheres conjuring nostalgia of ancient civilizations and our mankind from a different time. The record plays in two halves and opens with a song that is surely their magnum opus. A low organ hums under Gerrard's voice pouring with emotion and strength, the quiet crashing of drums creeps in underneath and after a short pause we are whisked into an overwhelming moment of beauty and sorrow. Divine strings enter and illuminate her voice to another level, its a moment that resists all doubt.

Unfortunately this moment of genius overshadows what is an underwhelming record in comparison to "Aion". Having taken the time to listen to it again I find a portion of songs in this track listing fall flat of their ambition to captivate. Maybe a touch on the minimal side, or perhaps Ive just experienced my share of this medieval music, either way the songs not listed below didn't grab me like the ones that are. Its an album of two halves, in two different ways. On one hand theirs an inconsistency to reach the soaring height set by the opener, on the other a record with two distinct vibes.

The first five tracks have the familiar medieval theme ripe with biblical organs, bells and chants. The second half, starting with "Chant Of The Paladin" shifts gears to an exotic, Mediterranean sound. Starting a touch dry at first the last two songs invoke mesmerizing rhythmic melodies around eerie synths conjuring images of fire, sands and Arabian mysticism. "Ullyses" is an luminescent finale, treating us to swift melodies and linear emotional progressions led by Perry's sentimental vocal presence. As a whole it has some weak moments but also produces a few on the bands best songs, well and truly worth your time, for the opening track alone.

Favorite Songs: The Host Of Serphim, In The Kingdom Of The Blind The One-Eyed Are Kings, Mother Tounge, Ulyses
Rating: 6/10