Lisa Gerrard - The Silver Tree Review


18. Dez. 2006, 18:02

This is actually the second time ive bought a copy of the new album by Lisa Gerrard. First time was the release on Itunes way back in October, via digital download - a format im not 100% happy with.
Why you ask? Well you pay a couple of pounds (for those of us in the Uk)less but you dont actually get a hard copy of the album, nor are you encouraged to actually make your own personal copy so you can listen to it in any other way apart from via Itunes. A big sting in the tail is i understand stuff bought digitally is encoded at 128 bit, not exactly top sound quality when your actually paying for this stuff. Anyhow this isnt a Itunes debate so ill carry on....
The reason i bought a hardcopy is a) I actually want a hardcopy, too sit down and listen to the music, look at the artwork, lyrics etc. b) i want to support the artist and c) With the UK edition theres an "exclusive" track.
Now im not the best review writer so ill try and keep it short and sweet!

1 - In Exile - a very dark opener for the album, slow in pace it sounds like it couldve came from the soundtrack to Gladiator.

2 - Shadow Hunter - exactly as you'd expect it to sound, albeit a bit short at the 2 minute mark. Lots of drums and no vocals!

3 - Come Tenderness - its not the lynchpin to the album in the way that Sacrifice or Sanvean were to their respective albums despite the fact that this track has been chosen to promote and represent the album. Thats not to say its a weak track because its not. Its a lovely track with a sparse musical arrangement. Its at its best when actually watching the promotional video as the music and images go hand in hand.

4 - The Sea Whisperer - One of my favourite tracks on the album with Lisa's Yang Qin making a very welcome comeback. Lisa's vocals here are lovely and warm and not unlike some of the work on her soundtrack work to the Whale Rider. Personally i think this wouldve made a better lead off track for the album than Come Tenderness.

5 - Mirror Medusa - Another short instrumental in the same vein as Shadow Hunter and just as dark.

6 - Space Weaver- one of the few tracks where Lisa actually sings in English rather than the glossolalia she's known for. It has a very "Massive Attack" feel to it. Soft beats and soaring vocals are the key to this track.

7 - Abwoon - Much superior to the version that was presented on Immortal Memory. This version was actually on my promo copy of Immortal Memory, and im assuming Lisa preferred the other version over this one. This one is done accapella, just Lisa's voice overdubbed to provide the backing drones. Absolutely sublime and one of the unexpected highlights of the album.

8 - Serenity - Performed as Yamyinar on the recent 2005 tour by Dead Can Dance. Not much has changed in the arrangement of the song - a simple guitar playing the same sequence of 5 notes throughout the song with a slow meditative feel. The Vocals are stunning too as those who know the song will remember!

9 - Towards the Tower - This is the lynchpin of the album in my opinion. It is the darkest peice of music Lisa has ever written, starting with some of the most deep vocals lisa sung before mutating into a skittering electronic piece with Lisa providing a change of key and singing in her higher registers. The song continues in this dark vein before grinding to a halt with the scariest sounding bells ive ever heard, and the song again changes into a much lighter reflective mood before finishing around the 10 minute mark. Has to be listened to - can teach some of the newer darkwave bands a thing or two!

10 - Wandering Star - again another track performed on the Dead Can Dance 2005 tour. This track was previously known as Minus Sanctus. In its studio form its lost some of its Celtic inflection but nonetheless is a beautiful little song that deserves to be longer than its running length of 2mins 30. It was performed with an extra verse at Dublin on the opening night of the Tour and this verse shouldve been kept for the album version. I could listen to this song for hours on repeat and still not get tired though. Perfection!

11 - Sword of the Samurai - blink and you miss it! a very very short instrumental with lots of electronic sound. Quite harsh and almost industrial sounding peice.

12 - Devotion - Last of the three tracks that were sung on the Dead Can Dance 2005 tour. This was previously titled "The love that cannot be". This is the track most akin to Sacrifice and Sanvean with a huge wall of emotion being projected at you. Its a very slow peice with only Lisas vocals and (synthesized?) strings. It was one of the highlights of the tour and provoked a strong reaction from the audience.

13 - The Valley of the Moon - A beautiful hypnotic closer to the album, its title more than adequately describes its sound. This song has to be my favourite vocal performance from Lisa on the album. Theres not much else i can say as it moves me to tears everytime i hear it. It sounds like a requiem to lost loves and lifetimes and feels profoundly spiritual.

The bonus track not listed on the sleeve (and only available on cds purchased from Lisa's own website or Storm Creation) is the peice used to close the Dead Can Dance tour. Called "Hymn of the Fallen" its a peice unlike anything else Lisa has done. Sounding remarkably like Billie Holliday (at least on the live version!) this moved many fans to tears. Sung in English again it appears to be an ode to her sleeping children and Lisa is astounding in her clarity. This song deserves to be given the recognition it deserves, not tucked away out of sight. Maybe Lisa has other plans for it further down the line.

So in Conlusion id like to say this is a wonderful album although i dont feel its really a "new" Lisa Gerrard album. Most of it appears to be made up of tracks for the much talked about "Mantras of a Lost Archetype" internet only album that never appeared, and peices wrote for soundtracks that were not used at the time. Thats not to say its lacking in quality in any way id still give it a very generous 8/10!


  • ethereal_lad

    Great review. I'd love to have the bonus track--I already have a live version of Hymn, and she drove me to tears when I heard it twice during the DCD tour of 2005 (I went to the NYC and DC shows).

    30. Dez. 2006, 16:33
  • TabooEv

    Nice review.. I recently started listening to Lisa's solo stuff and this is a really solid album by her. I can say the same thing about her other solo stuff.

    24. Jun. 2012, 23:13
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