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Album Review: Dead Can Dance - Dionysus

31 October 2018 | 4:40 pm | Christopher H James

"'Dionysus' is garlanded with all the Dead Can Dance trademark components - chanting, antique stringed instruments, sidewinding strings and a palpable sense of mystery."

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In ancient Greece, Dionysus was the god of winemaking, religious ecstasy and ritual madness. Not a bad person to have on your guest list and his influence can still be found in spring and harvest festivals throughout Europe, and in turn, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry’s new album.

If 2012’s grand, sometimes ethereal, Anastasis was a reassuringly familiar return after 16 years of silence, its follow up is just as recognisable, but several shades darker. Split into two “acts”, the baleful opening to Act I takes form with tribal percussion, an echoing drone and Middle Eastern horns. Dionysus is garlanded with all the Dead Can Dance trademark components - chanting, antique stringed instruments, sidewinding strings and a palpable sense of mystery. One small downside though is Gerrard's comparatively restrained performance, her vocals not taking flight in their breathtaking, soaring way until the start of the second half.

Quiet for most of this decade, Dionysus nonetheless shows Perry and Gerrard have recharged their batteries and slowly rediscovered their inspiration. As such its very much one of those comeback albums which fools you into forgetting they were ever away.