Dead Can Dance (album)

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Dead Can Dance
Dead Can Dance album.jpg
Studio album by
Released27 February 1984
Length35:01 (original)
51:06 (re-release)
ProducerDead Can Dance
Dead Can Dance chronology
Dead Can Dance
Garden of the Arcane Delights

Dead Can Dance is the debut studio album by Australian musical act Dead Can Dance. It was released on 27 February 1984 by record label 4AD.


Dead Can Dance commented on their official website regarding the name of the band and album:

To understand why we chose the name, think of the transformation of inanimacy to animacy. Think of the processes concerning life from death and death into life. So many people missed the inherent symbolic intention of the work, and assumed that we must be "morbid gothic types".



The album, according to the sleeve notes, was recorded at "Vineyard".

The musicians who performed on the album were Brendan Perry, Lisa Gerrard, Paul Erikson, James Pinker, Scott Rodger and Peter Ulrich. Erikson returned to Australia and was replaced by Rodger.

The instrumentation consisted of guitars, bass guitar and drums, with added percussion and the very distinct sound of the yangqin, as played by Gerrard.

The beginning sample on "The Fatal Impact" was taken from the 1964 film Zulu, and was recorded off of a television broadcast onto a cassette player. The drum machine used was built into the same cassette player. The percussion featured in the track consisted of three upturned, empty five-gallon paint tins tied together. This unorthodox instrumentation was one of the main reasons this song was not performed live at the time.

Musical style[edit]

AllMusic commented on the album's sound: "Bearing much more resemblance to the similarly gripping, dark early work of bands like the Cocteau Twins and the Cure than to the later fusions of music that would come to characterize the duo's sound, Dead Can Dance is as goth as it gets in many places".[2]

Album cover[edit]

The album cover includes a photo of a piece of artwork from Papua New Guinea on the left side,[3] and on the right, the Greek characters "ΔΞΛΔ CΛΝ ΔΛΝCΞ", which aimed to visually resemble the title "DEAD CAN DANCE".


The album was released by 4AD on 27 February 1984. Some editions included Dead Can Dance's next release, the EP Garden of the Arcane Delights, added onto the end of the album.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[2]

In its retrospective review, AllMusic wrote that, with the album, "Perry and Gerrard created a striking, dour landmark in early-'80s atmospherics".[2]


The band's touring was limited to Europe during this period.[4]

Track listing[edit]

Side A
1."The Fatal Impact"3:21
2."The Trial"3:42
Side B
1."East of Eden"3:23
3."A Passage in Time"4:03
4."Wild in the Woods"3:46
5."Musica Eternal"3:51

Release history[edit]

Country Date
Australia 27 February 1984
United States 22 March 1994


Personnel adapted from Dead Can Dance liner notes.[5]

Dead Can Dance
  • John Fryer – production


  1. ^ Donna Weston; Andy Bennett (2014). Pop Pagans: Paganism and Popular Music. Routledge. p. 77. ISBN 9781317546665.
  2. ^ a b c Raggett, Ned. "Dead Can Dance – Dead Can Dance : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  3. ^ "". Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links[edit]