Dies Natalis – The bright and the pure

A vinyl-only album by Dies Natalis, containing six new tracks and limited to 500 nicely designed copies. As a conceptual theme the record deals with the Cathars, a religious group in southern France in the 11th century who were branded heretics by the Roman Catholic Church. The record starts surprising, with a strong medieval hymn with horn and bagpipe sounds and ritual percussion. After a short while this instrumental trilogy turns into a typical Spanish bolero, followed by a solemn classical passage.

It has quicky become clear that Dies Natalis tries some new things on “The Bright And The Pure”. After the tranquil and intimate acoustic last releases, the band now demonstrates a more varied sound, with especially more electronic-based classical/medieval influences. On this record Dies Natalis mostly uses English and French lyrics instead of German texts.

The second track ‘The seventh seal’ shows a more conventional approach in a melancholic folky song. ‘Occitanias Knights’ is really a moving song, with nice male and female vocals, strings and solemn percussion.

The B-side starts with the soft and sad ‘La Complainte Pour Esclarmonde De Foix’, a female-sung ballad in the line of Pilori or Hekate, with some samples of fighting knights in the background. ‘The Upward Spiral’ is much lighter, this intimate and minimal song reminds me of a traditional children’s lullaby. The album is closed by another majestic classical / medieval instrumental piece.

A surprisingly varied piece of work with some very enjoyable tracks. In my opinion the most convincing and mature release by Dies Natalis so far.

artist: Dies Natalis
label: Nielozilla
details: lp, 6 tracks, 2004 [NZ016DN]