Dark Sanctuary – L’être las – l’envers du miroir

12/11/2003 § Leave a comment

CD Info
2003
Wounded Love Records
14 Tracks
French lyrics

Putting Dark Sanctuary on and trying to get into them after just listening to a metal album would be quite a hard thing to do. They really slow everything down to almost a grinding halt. This music would be the comedown, the dirge, the ultimate party killer in any situation you care to think of. It could even depress gospel singers. It’s that level of melancholy and gloominess. Pest control firms should play it to rats instead of giving them poison because they’ll all commit suicide.

The music that Dark Sanctuary make is ambient, ethereal and atmospheric. Everything is soft, deep, and contemplative. This is obviously the kind of music these people were made for since it comes across as being so natural, so fluent and so fluid that if they tried their hands at anything else it wouldn’t be as convincing. There’s also something quite classy about this album, I don’t know if it’s the strength of the violins, the dark tones of the songs or the quality of the singing, but there’s an x-factor that lets you know there’s something special about the music.

Dark Sanctuary have been around since 1998, and this album seems to be their biggest and most confident work. It is the Mecca that their other songs were trying to get to all those years. It has its mixtures of vocal and instrumental tracks, and the good thing about the instrumentals is that they don’t drag on for ages. Face A Une Mort Rassasiée, for instance, is just over a minute long and comprising of only a few string chords, but the strength in them can’t fail to move you as a listener. It makes you wonder what other lesser bands are doing with themselves when given more at their disposal and coming out with very boring and meaningless songs.

One thing might have caught your notice so far – Dark Sanctuary are from France and they’re not afraid to show it. There is not one track on this album in English, and it’s one of those situations when you have to get your head round the fact that you’re not necessarily going to understand everything; but French is a beautiful language, and here it’s beautifully sung. In fact, the vocals are stunning, wavering between clean and operatic though not touching either, but the sound is undeniably charming. The best songs on the album, L’Arrogance and Loin Des Mortals coax you in gently and raise the richness and the intensity gradually to give you something filling and satisfying. The atmosphere is a full on, never ebbing stream of grave emotion, but so wonderfully communicated that it leaves you feeling rewarded for giving it your time and that you’re doing something worthwhile with your ears.

However, though this album has its striking moments, there might be times when you’ll just drift off halfway through a song and wake up a few tracks further on. Not everything grabs your attention and some of the songs get a little annoying in parts. As well as that, this music can be so sombre and moody that it’s hard not to feel a little depressed after a while. It’s good to take it a couple of songs at a time, otherwise you’ll overdose and get into a mope. Listening to the whole 73 minutes in one go is nothing but a passport to mental torpor and emotional flagging. Nevertheless, if you’re the kind of person that loves introspection and delving into the recesses of your own thoughts [or someone else’s, for that matter], you could do far worse than to get your hands on this.

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