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Hailing from southern California with their slightly evolving sound, this band brings us over a decade of experience and music.  The lineup currently consists of members Rick Joyce (guitar), Jeff Diehm (vocals) and Peter J. Gorritz (bass).  With six full-length albums and a remix work released to date, they have embarked on an incredible journey with recognition that has spread from their local Orange County, California to Europe with their releases on the Apollyon Records label and now with their current deal with Dancing Ferret Discs.  Each album has shown a slight transition in style, but most of all their maturity and solid musical talents have come forth and bloomed into a very talented band.  They have passed through good times and bad, facing trials and having awesome experiences of performing to large crowds at various festivals and concerts around the world.  After losing their friend and drummer Ivan Dominquez in summer of 2002, they passed through a time of mourning to which they responded by regrouping and coming out with some of their best material to date.

With more and more bands in the Gothic/Industrial and Synthpop scene crossing genre lines, each group becomes slightly more difficult to describe.  While categorization is essentially used to be able to describe a certain style, it's not necessarily a need or way of pigeonholing a group into a certain genre.  This group does excellent work with each genre boundary that they cross, but remain faithful and true to their Gothic roots with various dancefloor electronic elements.  The prominent guitar and excellent bass coupled with intelligent lyrics and moving beats help this band lean toward a solid Gothic Rock sound which is refreshing and welcome from my perspective.

The Last Dance have always had a welcome presence in my music catalog and they are certainly recommended here on Gothic Paradise.  Be sure to check out selections here as well as wherever else you may find them.  See the review of their latest albums here and go out and buy them as soon as you can, they are well worth it.  They continue to tour and so if a show passes through your area, you wont want to miss their performance.

Now & Forever After - Review

Based on the 2002 release of Now & Forever, this updated and re-released album for the N. American audience is now available for fans to enjoy. It contains many of the tracks from the original album plus a number of updated and exlusive tracks for a total of 13 excellent pieces.  This is a great way for people to pick up some rare remixes of the band's favorite tracks.  It's a special treat because the band comments on each piece and remix, giving the listener a special insight into the band's music and their thoughts about their favorite pieces.

The album kicks off with the band's cult hit "Do You Believe In Angels" with the mix that band has put together for their recent live shows.  I love this version of this song, it really adds a ton of body to the piece with the added guitar and harder edge.  This is followed by the "Video Edit" of "Once Beautiful" which has become another popular and prominent track for the band in such a short while.  Another exclusive tracks follows in the form of "The Dreamside Remix" of "Breath" which has also become a popular ballad piece from their Whispers in Rage album.  This remix is an excellent display of the talents from The Dreamside with a lot of dark, heavy distortion on this already moody piece.  We couldn't have a collection of favorite tracks from the band without a version of "Nightmares", and the remix included is the "Phantasm Mix by Entropy" with a heavy industrial flare that unfortunately doesn't do this track the justice it deserves

At this point in the album we fall back to the older rarities from a slew of 2002 remakes and old hailing all the way back to the '96 release of "Violet's Wedding".  Each piece shows a key component of the band's history from the early to the more recent pieces.  Each one shows the band at their peak, baring their souls through the lyrics and emotional performances whether it's the vocals, percussion, guitar or bass, everything shines through in full aural beauty.  Most mixes fit perfectly with the album and the band's style until you get to the final piece, the 2002 remix of "The Storm (Fairytale)".  The original of this piece is a stellar selection that is a definite favorite from their history, but this remix is a little too much of an electro-dj remix of cut out lyrics and repeated loops.

I hate to end on that slightly negative note, because the album as a whole is really excellent and worth picking up for any fan of the goth-related genres.  I think it's a definite collector's item for fans to have, so don't hesitate to pick it up.

Rating: 4/5

Once Beautiful - Review

This band has been very busy over the past couple of years.  They've been on tour almost constantly and so it's a mystery how they found time to put this album together.   But after a short wait we're presented with their latest work in the form of a dozen great tracks.

The album kicks off with some guitar that's reminiscent of the classic goth band The Mission UK.  And so we get a taste as this album delves right into the edgy gothic rock sound.  The tracks that goth fans will really love include "Distantly" and "Once Beautiful" both playing on the theme and title of the album in lyrics and driving it home with the powerful guitars and moving beat.

For fans that have enjoyed the mix of electronics from this band, there is plenty of this in "Secrets" and layered throughout other tracks.  The slight electronics have always played a part in the music from this band creating a dynamic background for the driving goth styles.

Along with these elements, throw in guest musicians including talented Mera Roberts (Mercurine) on her cello, excellent guest drummers Thomas Coyne and Stevyn Grey (Frankenstein) and you really have a treat.  But a favorite of mine on the album is "Wish Me Closer" which features an excellent twist and Tina (Switchblade Symphony) on guest vocals.  This should definitely be a club favorite all over the world.

The dynamic abilities of this band really shines through across these tracks.  The distortion on Jeff's vocals really don't mix well with their awesome goth sound, but fans who like their music with a hard edge can still appreciate even that.  "Desparately Still" is a treat that was previously released on their remix album Reflections of Rage which mixes incredibly well with their previous works as it does on this disc.  And finally the album wraps up with the somewhat ballad-like track "Become Forever" which slowly builds in intensity to drop off for an excellent finale to this album.

This is a top-notch work from this band and just continues to show how creative they are and how they have continued to grow without copying or shadowing anyone else in the scene.  This one is definitely worth checking out.

Rating: 4.5/5

Reflections of Rage - Review

This disc comes out at the end of a long line of remix albums from this summer and fall.  So I've heard just about every possibly remix style from excellent renditions to horrible slaughtering of tracks.  Having this disc in my player is a welcome break with a range of well-done mixes and selections.

Fans should really enjoy this album with the excellent unique remixes and three exclusive additional tracks including a cover of none other than Brittney Spears' pop hit "Oops, I Did It Again".  When I picked up the disc and looked through the remixes and track list I nearly fell over when I saw the track name and thought it couldn't possibly be a cover.  So I put on the CD and listened to this track first just to hear it and nearly fell over laughing at just the thought of how much fun these guys had recording this track.  Who knew Brittney could be so goth!

The other two exclusive tracks are a continuation of the solid sound this group seems to be building and perfecting over the years.  A solid Gothic rock sound of grinding guitars, solid bass and Jeff's vocals.  "Simplicity" really delves into this edgy environment with a solid, throbbing mid-tempo beat and just enough electronics to add excellent texture and harmony.  But the song that kicks off this album titled "Desperately Still" is stellar and has quickly become a favorite of mine.  The excellent piano and the way the tone starts off low and subdued and gradually builds to a bombastic overture is incredible.  Once again they manage to blend powerful emotion with driving music with an edge for something quite memorable.

The rest of the album is composed of remixes ranging from the typical EBM-style of Thomas Rainer's (L'Ame Immortelle) remix of "Whisper" to the medieval sound of the Corvus Corax mix of the popular track "Nightmares".  Other highlights included the easily recognizable Ego Likeness remix of "Terribly When" with Donna providing her own vocals in places which she often does with their remixes adding a nice personal touch.  Mercurine adds a nice touch to their remix of "Breath" with a slightly minimalistic and dreamy approach.  The Form30 remix by Jason Reed of "Fairytale The Storm" is another excellent work bringing out the electronic elements on an already excellent track from one of their earlier albums.

On top of the remixes presented on the CD, there are also a lot of extra goodies including tour pictures, access to a virtual disc 2 collection on a protected website (you need to enter the UPC code from your CD case to access) with more remixes, a tour video and more.  This is all a nice touch, now we need to see a DVD of videos to go with all of the great music (not just more live performance shots).  Hopefully we'll see this and more great music coming soon.

Rating: 4/5

Whispers in Rage - Review

As their fifth full-length album, you can only imagine the maturity present in this release.  The good thing about this album is that it is finally available in the states on Dancing Ferret Discs where previous releases haven't been so easily available and widely distributed here.  Yet Europeans have had great access to this group the excellent label Apollyon Records.

So I have this album in my hands and it's a welcome addition to my collection that I have enjoyed listening to over the past few weeks.  The first thoughts that come to mind is a more solid Gothic Rock sound with vocals that are more energetic and emotional with backing music that is solid, vibrant and full.  From the excellent beginning track "Nightmares" with it's guest violin by Rachel McDonnell (The Cruxshadows) and dance beat to the driving cover of Oingo Boingo's track "Dead Man's Party" this album is packed with great material.  Going back to "Nightmares" for a second, many people have probably heard this on the free Asleep By Dawn compilation.  If this is your first exposure to The Last Dance or possibly you've heard the popular track "Do You Believe In Angels", I think that a cross between these two excellent tracks is what you can expect on this album.  The solid foundation really rocks with the excellent guitar and just enough electronics and synths to keep the music moving and robust without drifting off as a synthpop group, keeping the sound full and overall darker toned.

I think the tracks "rage" and "whisper" coupled with many others well describe the emotional feelings on this album.  There are a lot of deep feelings and messages being expressed in this music along the lines of "I am all out of silence from this sorrow" and "The rage is all around and full of fear".  But I think the emotionally charged track "Breath" while a mid-tempo piece builds and is just bursting with raw power and emotion.  These are true masterpieces as the perfectly mixed and performed music drive it all to the listener's heart and soul.

Added to the talent of this trio and already mentioned guest artists, we're also presented with the work of others that many will recognize from their work presented here on Gothic Paradise.  Mera Roberts appears courtesy of Mercurine with her wonderful talents on the cello, Michele Joyce graces us with backing vocals on "Breath" and others add their talents with rhythm guitar, various percussion and keyboards just to mention a few.  I think it's great that bands are not afraid to ask for contributing guest musicians, and it speaks highly of the guests to lend their talents to another artist's music.  A job well done to everyone who contributed to this album, including the excellent lyrics, artwork, packaging, mastering and production of this album.  I highly recommend it to those fans of other bands on the Dancing Ferret Discs label and those longing for some solid Gothic Rock.

Rating: 4.5/5

Concert Review - 10/29/03

It was Halloween week, precisely two days before Halloween and I found myself at Club Sanctuary in Salt Lake City in the company of Rick Joyce, guitarist and one of the main characters behind The Last DanceThis had been a long time coming, considering the many failed attempts that Rick and I had before of trying to get The Last Dance a show in Salt Lake City.  We spent nearly an hour talking about everything from our families to the music that I have enjoyed from The Last Dance for so many years.

When they finally took the stage they started with one of their latest tracks from the Whispers in Rage album, one of my favorites, the very powerful and emotional "Whisper".  Jeff was all over the stage, and mingling throughout the crowd while belting out the powerful vocals for this and many other popular and wonderful songs by this group.  Their presence was commanding as Rick would weave back and forth, his fingers sometimes a blur as he strummed out the chords of many of the moving Gothic Rock songs.  Peter was also plucking out the powerful basslines as Tom's hands and drumsticks were a blur as he pounded out the moving beats to these incredible songs.  Their sound was completely awesome live, I do also give credit to a great sound system that was setup that night and talented sound tecnician, but the music was incredible.  I really enjoy their studio albums and to hear much of that same quality and structure live was also very incredible.

Of course we heard many popular songs like "Nightmares" and the club classic really got people moving when they played "Do You Believe in Angels".  I think this group made a lot of new fans with their outstanding performance as they played their hearts out that night, possibly dedicating much of their performance to their dear departed friend Ivan.  They ended their regular set with their cover of "Dead Man's Party" and gave a very nice encore performance.

They continue to tour all over the world and have come back for more visits.  Each show is memorable and so you don't want to miss their performance if they pass your way.

- photo courtesy of Kelly Ashkettle -

Website: www.thelastdance.com
Label: Dancing Ferret Discs

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