Dance or Die

[Nostradamnation sleeve]"Nostradamnation" (Album, 2011) !DSO Recommended!

Out of Line

I’ve a long-standing appreciation of Dance or Die that dates back (like several of their contemporaries still going today) to those glory dates of the Machinery label, when they shared an incredible stable alongside the likes of Covenant, Snog, And One et al. But unlike those three named, who have steadily continued to release material and perform live since the demise of Machinery in 1994, Dance or Die disappeared for an entire decade. In fact, I’d long since assumed they’d shut down operations. With peak albums like 1991's debut 3001 and Psychoburbia (1992) still getting regular outings here at the dsoaudio HQ, when I received the press release about new Dance of Die material, a full album no less, I don't mind admitting that a thrill of expectation ran down my spine.

It was with some tangible sense of wariness then that I approached listening to this first; simply because I wanted so much not to be disappointed. Thank the universe (and of course Dance or Die themselves!) then that not only does this most certainly not disappoint, but it impresses. Big time.

From the deliciously early Sisters of Mercy-like monstrous opener Helios this gets off to an astonishingly strong start. There’s nothing about this song I’d change and it has instantly earned a place in my favourite Dance or Die tracks. The next hour that follows is a masterclass in how to mature and develop, intelligently and still turn out dark, doom-laden songs that any of the new kids on the block would die (!) to have their name attached to. Stylistically, this spans the entire Dance or Die spectrum: from full on club tracks sung in their native German tongue (4 3 2) to atmospheric instrumentals (like Novus Ordo Seclorum). On songs like Empty Heart (sung in English) Gary Wagner's voice is as distinctive and strong as ever it was and a pleasure to hear on such great new material. 

Nostradamnation has outstanding quality stamped all over it and sits atop their already impressive back catalogue as a powerful, thrilling, apocalyptic, expressionist musical journey. The passing years have certainly provided ample creative inspiration for Dance or Die, and Dance or Die have been generous to us in return. After ten years away, Dance or Die effortlessly still lead the way. Nostradamnation is their best album ever. 8/10

Rob Dyer (June 2011)