English version of the Italian release from this French band! | French group with orchestral, female vocals and somber music (Dead Can Dance's Spleen & Ideal-era is their most important reference). Darkly majestic and sorrow drenched with a neoclassical feel. The maestoso compositions of their debut album conquered our hearts. Dark Sanctuary is offering here in their follow-up an even more mature effort: wonderfully arranged and performed strings based layers and the legendary awesome female opera voice on top of this somber orchestration. Music to be played at dusk !
Neoclassical, semi-ambient act Dark Sanctuary always made a bigger splash on the continent, especially their native France, than here in Britain, so this latest re-release from Peaceville Records might be just what they need to break the UK market. In fact, it’s somewhat surprising it hasn’t happened before, because Dark Sanctuary have all the ingredients to achieve this breakthrough: three attractive, vaguely pre-Raphaelite lady members, three sombre, bearded, sensitive-looking boy members, violins, and a very recognisable niche sound, rather as though Fauré bred with Poledouris. First released in 2000, “De Lumière et d’Obscurité” is a darkly thoughtful work, rich in Miltonian imagery of angels and demons, heaven and hell, all drawn together by Dame Pandora’s beautifully simple vocals, which have the bell-like clarity of tone usually associated with castrati. Graceful yet spare violin motifs recall Dark Sanctuary’s Danish neofolk contemporaries, Of The Wand And The Moon. Many bands would allow the violins and keyboards to take over such a sound, but this pared-back austerity twinned with luxurious vocal harmonies is far more successful, imbuing “De Lumière…” with the peculiarly ascetic sense of beauty frequently experienced when walking through mediaeval ruins. This is particularly evident in the Gothic-influenced “Rève Mortuaire”, a numinous effort. The keyboard-dominated instrumental “Preludia” and “Interludia” help to draw the album together musically as well as providing a neat contrast to the other tracks, where vocals take such a commanding role. It is not hard to see how 1996-founded Dark Sanctuary have made it big on the continent; the mystery is why it’s taken the British so long to notice them. -Claire Thomas