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  DRACONIAN
'Sovran'
(Napalm Records) Release Date: 30th October 2015


Ian Sutherland
ian sutherland


draconian

Swedish Doom Metallers Draconian aren't ones for experimenting too much. Unlike genre contemporaries like My Dying Bride or Paradise Lost they have never strayed very far away from their roots since their inception in 1994 and are known by those in the know for simply making heavy, atmospheric Doom Metal with melodic touches and an epic feel.

'Sovran' is their sixth official studio album and the first since 2011's 'A Rose For The Apocalypse'. Five years is a long time and in that period they have welcomed a new female singer to their beauty and the beast vocal line up in Heike Langhans.

Listening to the album my conclusion is that they have spent the rest of those five years honing their song writing and their sound as this is an album of real quality. They don't seem to strive to find a new sound or style, they just work very hard to be really, really good at what they do.

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There are plenty of crushing riffs here from Johan Ericsson and Daniel Arvidsson and the mighty low growling singing style of Anders Jacobsson fits in perfectly with that vibe. I'm not always a fan of the growling/grunting vocals thing but the way Jacobsson does it here adds a real sense of weight and gravitas to Draconian's sound.

Tempo wise they do speed things up occasionally but are much happier with a slow, mournful, funeral procession walking pace. This allows all the subtleties in their sound to come out and gives everything room to breathe and develop.

Then on top of all that heavy weight they add in haunting lead guitar lines. Slow and deliberate they are a beautiful counterpoint to the heaviness around them and make it all sound so epic as well as sticking in your head. Yes doom can be catchy!

A special part of the Draconian sound has always been the addition of melodic female vocals and here Langhans, in her first album with the band, shows that she has exactly what it takes to inject that special something into the songs. She manages to sound heartbreakingly fragile and beautiful while still having enough power to easily be heard over the band at full tilt.

draconian

The song writing here is first class too. Nine songs all ranging from the six to nine minute mark, each beautifully crafted in its own right. The subject matter is of course suitably dark and mournful with titles like 'No Lonelier Star' and 'Pale Tortured Blue'.

It may sound like Draconian have made an album for people to play when feeling depressed on a dark and rainy day and 'Sovran' would certainly be great for that. However there is beauty as well as darkness here and for me this album sounds good anywhere and everywhere.

Fans of the Doom Metal genre and previous Draconian albums will love this. I think it's also good enough to reach out to anyone who loves their music heavy but melodic though. I hope I don't have to wait five years for the next one.



Line up:
Anders Jacobsson – Vocals
Johan Ericsson – Guitar
Daniel Arvidsson – Guitar
Jerry Torstensson – Drums
Fredrik Johansson – Bass
Heike Langhans – Vocals


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30.10.15















 


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