In English, the Greek word "anastasis" is literally translated as "resurrection." The definition is apt as the title to Dead Can Dance's reunion offering, their first recording of new studio material since 1996's Spiritchaser. Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry established a well-deserved global reputation for pushing boundaries in popular music. ...
In English, the Greek word "anastasis" is literally translated as "resurrection." The definition is apt as the title to Dead Can Dance's reunion offering, their first recording of new studio material since 1996's Spiritchaser. Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry established a well-deserved global reputation for pushing boundaries in popular music. Coming from the fringes of the gothic music world on the iconic 4AD label, they brought a sense of near classical discipline (and pretension) into their sound. They incorporated cutting-edge production techniques and also folded in -- mostly accurately -- several international musical traditions; combined, they created a deeply atmospheric, lushly textured, dramatic brand of post-gothic pop. Self-produced and released by PIAS, Anastasis features eight songs, and clocks in at just under an hour. The trace elements will be very familiar to DCD fans. In fact, Anastasis can be called, for the most apart, an album of tropes; it is much more a tour through much of the band's previous history than an exercise in delivering anything new. This is surprising given Gerrard's vast soundtrack experience and Perry's solo albums, various collaborative contributions, and film work. The musical tenets here derive from near-Eastern Mediterranean sources (mainly Greek and Turkish folk forms), and some from the various nations of North Africa. Immediately noticeable is Perry's voice (which holds forth on the fine meta-mystical opener "Children of the Sun" and the hollowed-out bliss of "Opium"); it is deeper, richer, more restrained in its delivery, but more powerful because of it. He and Gerrard rarely sing on the same tune. For Gerrard, her instantly recognizable instrument shines forth on "Agape" and "Kiko," with their Arab-scaled strings, dumbeks, ouds, and cymbaloms. The set's finest moment is "Return of the She-King," whose drones, and the processional multi-tracked vocals by Gerrard, are matched by strings, deep tom-toms, swooping ethereal guitars, ouds, and numerous instruments. Perry joins in at the end, and their twin voices meet in a gauzy dexterity and contrast amid a swirl of neo-classical strings. While Anastasis doesn't have any problems per se, it does feel all of a piece, and given the track lengths, they can seem to bleed together. With the exception of the surprising snare cadences on "Children of the Sun," the rhythmic palettes are surprisingly uniform, making the album feel as if it is devoid of a clear center. Anastasis will more than likely please longtime fans -- and to be fair that is who it seems geared to -- rather than win many new ones. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi