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Within the Realm of a Dying Sun

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Audio CD, November 18, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Their third album, originally released in 1987. With record sales worldwide increasing, the band was reaching a wider audience than ever before.


WITHIN THE REALM OF A DYING SUN sees Dead Can Dance utilizing both string and brass instruments more than they had previously, which gives the music an organic feel. Though some synthesized effects are still present, the floating, ethereal effect that the tracks inspire is based almost entirely on the cavernous echoes that DCD incorporates into its music and on the vocals of Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard, who sings four songs to Perry's three (the other is a short instrumental). On "Xavier," Perry's voice rises and falls amid a forest of strings, augmented by an occasional, distant trumpet. "Dawn of the Iconoclast" opens with a series of triumphal blasts and spare drum rolls, and soon settles into a sustained chord over which Lisa Gerrard's voice (tracked at least three times) weaves back and forth, before eventually ending on a swelling synthesized note. "Cantara" is arguably the best track here--built over a repeated hurdy-gurdy riff, at nearly the two-minute mark it introduces a percussive rhythm over which Gerrard intones what seem to be nonsense syllables--the whole thing comes out suggesting a village dance from the time of King Arthur and company. --Muze

1. Anywhere Out Of The World
2. Windfall
3. In The Wake Of Adversity
4. Xavier
5. Dawn Of The Iconoclast
6. Cantara
7. Summoning Of The Muse
8. Persephone (The Gathering Of Flowers)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 18, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: 4ad Records
  • ASIN: B001FZ0A72
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,026 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

This is one of their best albums.
Within The Realm Of The Dying Sun is to me the most extraordinary album of Dead Can Dance.
Deven Gadula
I recommend it (as highly as I can) for any music lover.
Elyse Reardon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 21, 2001
Format: Audio CD
WITHIN THE REALM OF A DYING SUN was the third LP by Dead Can Dance, the duo of Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, released in 1987. In it, they go further with the classical structures explored in 1986's SPLEEN AND IDEAL and in doing so forged what may be their best album.
It's remarkable that Perry and Gerrard wrote the music for this album after simply picking up a couple of books on scoring. This is an album that, after the somber introductory tracks by Perry, moves into clashing cymbals, thundering timpanis, and exploding brass. The musicians who accompany Perry and Gerrard are extremely skilled, and Peter Ulrich, percussionist, adds a great deal of talent to the album. And of course, there are the voices. Brendan Perry's voice is among the most profound and sagely of modern music. And Lisa Gerrard, as anyone who has heard her sing, has the voice of a goddess.
Other reviewers, much to my chagrin, have thought of this as a "goth" album. Although the album is indeed dark, Perry and Gerrard have always denied attempting to present a gothic image. This is a somber album because Perry further explains his world-view, and because Gerrard's tracks move the spirit in a way that is too sacred to make light of.
Some have criticized this album's layout, saying that it is a mistake to divide the album into a first half of Perry's philisophically pensive songs and a second half of Gerrard's choral pieces. Nonetheless, part of what makes Dead Can Dance's work interesting is the duality between the two musicians, and making the album bipolar merely highlights the differences between their styles.
Every track on this album is excellent, and this was the first album I ever bought where I can't complain about even a single song. WTRDS is probably the best place to begin listening to Dead Can Dance.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By M. Haswell on September 5, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I must confess that I was quite late in becoming familiar with Dead Can Dance, and missed their glory days by a longshot. Considering that I was listening to a number of their stylistic contemporaries, I'm not sure how I missed out for so long. It's very unfortunate that Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry are no longer making music together, but the material that they did create easily stands among the finest and deepest in the past couple decades. To me, Within the Realm of a Dying Sun represents their first true (and arguably purest) masterpiece. Everything they made from Spleen and Ideal onwards was unique and rich both in melody and content, but this particular album sends shudders down my spine like few others can. Although this is far from being a bright and pretty work, the growth between it and their rather unexceptional, Goth-style debut in 1984 is really quite an extraordinary shift.
The arrangement of the songs is a bit peculiar from the very first listen; this is the only album in which Brendan and Lisa evenly split the vocal/songwriting responsibilities, and - in particular - each respectively get one half of the album. As awkward and unnatural as it may sound, it works perfectly, with the two halves complementing each other like they were meant to fall in that order. Still, there is a heavy medieval and Gothic tinge to the songs, intensifying more and more as the album progresses. The atmosphere is only charged further by the addition of strings, tympani and horns, which accent the music beautifully. Brendan's songs are dark, but not quite depressing, with lyrics focusing more on a spiritual and philosophical plane than a dreary and nihilistic one. Each song of his seems to be part of a gradual crescendo, slowly becoming more urgent and intense.
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73 of 82 people found the following review helpful By David Baker on November 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Although I don't consider this to be my favorite album ever (that title goes to Nine Inch Nails' "The Fragile"), Dead Can Dance touch upon a dark beauty that even that CD doesn't quite reach up to. This is Dead Can Dance's darkest album, no question about that; where Gothic music (in the sense of the Victorian era) meets Arcane. "Anywhere Out Of The World" starts off with dark piano notes that bleed into Brendan Perry's beautiful voice. The song perfectly sets the mood for "Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun," with it's Gothic piano notes and and somber mood (not to mention Brendan Perry's magnificent vocals and lyrics). "Windfall" is a beautiful instrumental that lives up to it's name quite well. The song is absolutely stunning, the way the violins weave in and out sends chills up and down my spine. "In The Wake Of Adversity" is like it's predecessor, only with vocals and a more Arcane feel. Very nice. At this point in the disk, I realized that, while the songs were perfect, they've been lacking an important part of Dead Can Dance: Lisa Gerrard! She does, however, make her entrance on this disk with "Xavier." Lisa does the intro and Brendan takes over from there on. The song, just like all the other ones here, is perfect. A great song, and a chilling outro. It's the only song on "Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun" that the two team up vocally. Lisa finally gets the spotlight with "Dawn Of The Iconoclast." The horns (or trumpets, whatever they're called, I'm bad at naming instruments) and drums lead and then give way to Lisa's voice. The song is short, a little more somber, darker, and softer as well. It ends beautifully, with violins that leave a haunted feeling. Absolutely exquisite.Read more ›
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