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Dark Sanctuary - Exaudi Vocem Meam (Part I) (7,5/10) - France - 2005/2008

Genre: Dark Ambient / Gothic
Label: Peaceville Records
Playing time: 62:22
Band homepage: Dark Sanctuary


  1. Ouverture
  2. Elle Et L'aube
  3. Dein Kalter Stein
  4. Memento Mei
  5. The Garden Of Jane Delawney
  6. Cristal
  7. Mon Errance...
  8. A Mes Ennemis
  9. Sortie Du Cloître
  10. Des Illusions
Dark Sanctuary - Exaudi Vocem Meam (Part I)

DARK SANCTUARY, one of the most dismal groups on the French music firmament have from the very beginning of their career consequently treaded the once chosen path of nostalgia, human loneliness and depression. The fifth full-length album under a Latin title “Exaudi Vocem Meam” is their another step through life’s gloomy realms.


In order to have a greater picture of band’s shape and condition I went through their first CD “Royaume Mélancolique” and just as then the foundation of their music is constituted by long, spatial and melancholic keyboard sequences. The invoked soundscapes suit perfectly DARK SANCTUARY’s lyrical themes as the complex keys structures seem to be endless just as one could endlessly carry on with discussions on the issues taken up by the Frenchmen. Using the word ‘endless’ I do not obviously mean that the whole work is dreary, though such impression might come to mind if you listen to it while dish-washing or driving a car. Getting acquainted with this stuff demands nearly automatically that you devote your time but for music experiences, that are briefly speaking more than just pleasant.


Apart from the already mentioned keys the French band makes use of piano as well as acoustic guitars which – even if not that frequent – deepen the dismal atmosphere of the album. The work of the latter instrument might be appealing especially in the covered version of a song by a group called TREES “The Garden Of Jane Delawney” where the soothing melody leads the listener all the way through and some added violin passages together with clean female vocals make this song one of the best one on the track-list (even if that is a cover there is still a number of features typical for DARK SANCTUARY, which makes it just as if they wrote the song themselves).


Another instrument, which theoretically is merely an addition to the lengthy  key layers is percussion – at times delicately accompanying the main keyboard motives but after a while marking its presence more decidedly and bestowing the music with a certain Doom Metal feeling like in the final tune called “Elle Et L’aube”. There are also moments where the drum section gives an army-like march rhythm (“Memento Mei”, “A Mes Ennemis”) enhancing them with a dose of dramaturgy and tension.


Proceeding further on to the vocal department I have to point out the beautiful voice of Dame Pandora who most often sings the lyrics in a calm manner full of melancholy yet being pleasantly warm at the same time. Occasionally a certain diversity appears either in the shape of a male voice accompanying her (third album-track named “Der Kalten Stein”) or when some background singing is being dominated by frontwoman’s slightly desperate performance on the verge between narration and melodeclamation  in the last tune (“Des Illusions”).


No matter what I would write about Frenchmen’s art, I can not say it is technically intricate and advanced. Quite on the contrary, they use relatively simple means, though being capable and aware of how these can be forged in order to make a set of long, spatial and sentimental compositions. Aiming at creating the sorrowful atmosphere with which each track is permeated is the musician’s priority rather than impressing the listener with individual instrument performance.


The final conclusion is that DARK SANCTUARY are a band too remarkable not be given at least a try in one’s stereo, even if representing a genre that – I presume – most readers of this magazine do not experience every day. Most probably the proverb ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’ will be valid also in this case, still though I encourage you to check the band and simultaneously – paraphrasing "The Metal Observer"’s motto – to expand your own Music horizon.

(Online July 20, 2008)

Sebastian Jazdzewski

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