Dead Can Dance
The Serpent's Egg


3.5
great

Review

by Jorn van Schaïk USER (172 Reviews)
March 26th, 2007 | 26 replies | 96,902 views


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist


2 of 3 thought this review was well written

Does any of you reviewers here feel the need once in a while to branch out beyond the common boundaries of your favourite genre? To explore what lies beyond the hordes of heavy metal bands (in my case) and try out things you've actually never tried before? Well, one day I found myself in the cd store and remembered the recommendations of some of my friends. They said that this was a good record and I'd heard two songs by them, and quite enjoyed them. So I picked this up (yes, I still buy cd's) and found myself actually quite enjoying this.

So, what does this album sound like to anyone who hasn't heard anything about this band? Well, basically, it's indescribable. There isn't anything heavy at all about this album. There are a couple of violins, and some other obscure instruments this band likes to use, something that sounds like an organ, but none of them ever take the forefront. They merely serve as atmosphere-enhancers to allow the voices of the two people that made up this band, Lisa Gerrards and Brendan Perry, to steal the show. And what a show it is. On the first track, called The Host Of Seraphim a very atmospheric sad one, Lisa Gerrards demonstrates her powerful voice. Chanting melodically, in a way that it sounds Arabic, sad, and beautiful at the same time, the song is so sad it could have been used as a soundtrack for a war documentary in Iraq or Sudan. It's THAT inspiring.

Similarly, songs like Severance, with some gorgeous male vocals, or In The Kingdom Of The Blind The One-Eyed Are Kings, with a strong climactic ending, demonstrate the use of your vocal chords as a powerful instrument. You don't need a heavy guitar or a bass or a drum to make music. Just being able to sing and use some obscure background instruments is good enough to do the job. And the atmospheres that conveys is the best about this album. There isn't a moment where the music doesn't try to suck you in. It's not meant to catch a listeners attention by some catchy chorus or melody. It's advanced listening, requiring attention for the subtle details of its work, or it may also function well as enhancing background music to set a mood for a certain area. It's a perfect album to fall sleep to, so to speak. It requires a totally different mindset for listening, moreso than your average pop or rock album, but once you do that it's well worth it.

However, no album is without its flaws, and even this one has some things about it that just make it not good enough to merit a five-star rating. One of them is the spectacularly short running time of just over 36 minutes. It's a very good and ambient album, but it's over so quickly! The moment you're in, it releases you again. It's only good if you end up not liking it, which is entirely possible, but if you don't like this album, I will ask where you have left your heart all these long lonely years.

Another is that some songs are definitely too short or seem out of place. Orbis De Ignis's placement makes no sense unless it would have been three minutes longer, rather than being quite a boring one-and-a-half-minute interlude about precisely that, nothing at all. Furthermore, it's a bit of an album that's quite over-reliant on a single formula, the use of the aforementioned vocals to draw you in. The only problem is, that by track 8 I can never keep track of where I am in this disc. Once I thought I was listening to the seventh song and I found out I actually already was at song 9. This is good for the ability to captivate, but bad for not being able to actually distinguish songs from each other. Then I guess that's a form of ambient music altogether, but I find it annoying when I can't tell which song is which.

This isn't the most classic album you'll ever find, therefore. It's a great and diverse listen for people whose tastes are broader than just three records, and a good way to distract yourself from everything going on in the whole wide world out there. But for fans of ambient music, despite this being a pretty worthy cd of picking up, I'm not sure whether you actually really need this that bad. Then again, there are some excellent songs worth the price of entry, and it IS an excellent display of what world music is all about. If you're in an alternative or different mood than usual, it can never hurt to pick this one up. Either you'll like it, or if you don't, it's short enough to sit through in one listen regardless.



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user ratings (139)
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3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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The usual "tug-of-war" between Western and Oriental influences inherent in DCD albums is reconciled ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
deathscreamingsheep
March 26th 2007



86 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. I love Dead Can Dance but I can definately see where you're coming from with the negative points as well.

BallsToTheWall
April 21st 2008



44164 Comments


Good review, I just heard about this band. I think i'll check them out tomorrow.

LysergicLollypops
September 1st 2011



77 Comments


only ever heard Host of Seraphim, and it almost moved me to tears, I might try and get this.

Gyromania
February 8th 2012



15167 Comments


"In the Kingdom.." is one of my favorite songs of all time.

Funeralopolis
February 8th 2012



10992 Comments


thought this was Dance Gavin Dance at first

Digging: Sweet Smoke - Just A Poke

Gyromania
February 8th 2012



15167 Comments


Haha - check out the song I mentioned on YouTube! We need to get more people talking about this album.

AStableReference
April 3rd 2012



1844 Comments


"Does any of you reviewers here" should be changed to "do any of you reviewers here"

Gyromania
April 4th 2012



15167 Comments


For time has imprisoned us
in the order of our years,
in the discipline of our ways,
and in the passing of momentary stillness

Gyromania
April 4th 2012



15167 Comments


I've never met a person who dislikes this band.

Graveyard
April 4th 2012



5595 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's impossible

conesmoke
May 27th 2012



5170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cool album. good on you for still buying cds, me too.

DeafMetal
October 4th 2012



8584 Comments


great fuckin album

YankeeDudel
March 24th 2013



9304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

top flight band

Digging: Croatian Amor - Genitalia Garden

Keyblade
March 24th 2013



14177 Comments


*top five band

Digging: Paraxism - .Xism Excursion

ViperAces
March 24th 2013



12374 Comments


top five flight band

YankeeDudel
March 24th 2013



9304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

key my man 4.5 it

Keyblade
March 24th 2013



14177 Comments


i should yea but if i do that means i have to 4.5 like 2 of their other albums. im too lazy for that man, i already have 2 DCD albums rated



YankeeDudel
March 24th 2013



9304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ah so you're a little ocd like myself okay lol but they're a top 5 band man you have to make an exception for such prestige

Keyblade
March 24th 2013



14177 Comments


first world sput problems

imma give the discog another listen then rate all these motherfuckers LET'S DO THIS

YankeeDudel
March 24th 2013



9304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thats the GOD DAMN SPIRIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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