Dead Can Dance - A Serpent's Egg - Alexis
A travel into the mystic world of the medieval orient is the ticket offered by this groundbreaking duo consisting of Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry.
Organs deciding a general ambient undertone begins this album, while Lisa's voice provides with an emotional and timeless beginning, leaning towards the suffering, but at the same time upholding the reactionary opposite. Continuing on this journey, voices of different tone heights co-work and thereby conclude an ultimately interesting piece of medieval spirit rarely found in other artists of similar interest.
Brendan, although in many ways fond of the positive and optimistic, surges forward with a calm exclamation of the fatal individualism that splits and sever the ties that create a strong and unified people. His recognition of this in "Severance" is clear and profound, and it is not without a sprinkle of sadness that this song ends with an emotional violin as a reaction to the problem.
However, it is Lisa's performance that mostly impresses this listener - as in songs like "The writing on my father's hand", where total sorrow and hopelessness is uphold and taken to its emotional extreme - without losing its musical honesty and integrity. The melody played by a harp in the background leaves room for only a small gap of echo, which seems to suggest a closed and distant room in the tower of a castle, where feelings and wishes are repressed - both physically and mentally.
No more than for how long such a feeling may last in the mind of the observer, Brendan immediately presents a reactionary piece where the current ignorance is replaced by tolerance and an opened mind, freed from the sins imposed by those with God but without eyes to see the beauty of life. These feelings and counter-feelings are one of the things that gives this album a balanced picture and leave it more in the space of dynamic change, rather than linear thinking.
Further, it seems like the album itself unconsciously is divided into two separate chapters; one of suppression and reflection, and one of spiritual enlargement and celebration. Songs like "Mother Tongue" affirms this idea, as the album suddenly takes a different turn; multiple layers of rhythmic drumming, sounding similar to bells of crystal ice blowing in the wind, seducing, mystic and monotone ambient tones wave the sounds into a blurry vision of a forest undergoing a magical change - all of this is later into the song accompanied by the sound of a secret waterfall somewhere deep into the mouth of Mother Nature.
Conclusion-wise, "The Serpent's Egg" ends with a hopeful and optimistic vision of the future, something which probably should be seen as the overall underlying motivation behind this album, where the pieces of sorrow and pain only are there to strengthen the message of problems addressed. The sadness described stems from the negative forces built upon during medieval times - where the situations are played out - but the effects of these are in this musical piece concentrated on in modern time of living.
What makes "The Serpent's Egg" so beautiful - apart from the well arranged musical structure and use of strings and ambience, is its profound and honest aesthetic, as well as its way of handling with emotive situations, historical past and philosophical future. While Lisa focuses on scrutinized sorrow, pain and spiritual mystique, Brendan thereafter lifts the mood up by addressing the ignorance inflicted upon the modern soul, and instead announce a new way of living - a new life, where the past is unified by future.