Dies Natalis – Tristan

It was quiet for a while around Dies Natalis. But earlier this year the German neo-folk formation surprisingly returned with the solid mini-cd “Abyss”. Now this is followed by a full-length album. This proves again that not only the line-up but also the sound of the band has changed quite a bit since their early releases. The heroic, martial aspects are almost gone. The album is dominated by romantic acoustic ballads. Most music and (mostly English) lyrics are written by Tobias Strahl. It depends on my mood how I appreciate “Tristan”. At times I find everything a bit too sweet and soft, at other times I can be moved. The compositions are quite simple, the instrument playing not very special and the (male) singing not particularly skilled. Nevertheless the music of Dies Natalis is often quite effective. I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps it’s the enthousiasm and passion of the band. They give the music a warm, honest feeling.

The “Prolog’ is a minimal piano piece, with German spoken word and the sounds of the sea, reminding me of Goethes Erben and other classic darkwave acts. It is followed by ‘Dies Natalis Solis Invicti’, which features soft female vocals by new member Susanne, who is a very good asset for Dies Natalis, she gives an extra dimension to their music. A few songs are really too sweet and poppy for me, like ‘Anabell’. ‘The time’ then again sounds more cheerful, making you move slowly back and forth. A nostalgic ballad is ‘Time goes on’, whith nice multiple voices and a cello. There are only a few more bombastic moments on the album, like the powerful song ‘Angels of Babylon’. “Tristan” is an album full of neo-folk ballads, acoustic guitars, soft percussion and male and female voices. Perhaps you can call it campfire music, acoustic pop or traditional folk, Dies Natalis has left the traditional ‘neo-folk’ sound. A solid album, if you appreciate emotional ‘unpretentious’ songs and fragile romantic ballads.

artist: Dies Natalis
label: Nielozilla
details: 13 tracks [NZ001DN]