From the deep, dark, gloomy history comparable to Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and the old Anathema, the Swedish doom formation Draconian has built a foundation on dark and heavy music topped off by two top class vocalists. With this different, fresh approach, the band came to their fifth studio album called ‘Sovran’. We went deep into a gloomy, damp and dark state of mind to enjoy this new doom release.Not present on the peaceville record label itself, but easily comparable with the bands that release material through them, Draconian finds its legacy in the heavy, dark music. With elements of pure doom, but also some more lighthearted moments, sometimes even comparable with progressive bands like Porcupine Tree and Katatonia, the band attempts to reinvent the classical doom genre. And they have been doing so with great success.
One name that pops up when I’m listening to ‘Sovran’ is the female vocalist Sharon Den Adel. She’s the famous front woman of gothic and symphonic band Within Temptation. A couple of days I truly believed that she was the one singing on this release. That’s not the case, at all. The band has its own vocal duo, with the pretty Heike Langhans enchanting you with her beautiful, mysterious voice. The other half is filled in by the aggressive, deep grunts of Anders Jacobsson.
Not only Langhans tries to pull you down into the deep dark seas that are the tracks on ‘Sovran’, also the music is made to lure you away from everyday life. Not exactly like the ultimately slow doom of AHAB, a band I reviewed before, the band has more changes of pace, but most of it consists of slow burning, deep growling riffs by guitarists Johan Ericsson and Daniel Arvidsson.
The vocals of miss Langhans are truly showcased by Draconian. At times it tops off the pure class of this Swedish sextet, almost as if pure magic flows out of the speakers. But that’s not all of it. there’s also a little bit of a problem at times. Heike Langhans does her absolute best, but sometimes she fails to match the dark and gloomy music. At those times it feels like her voice is hovering over the riffs, without really belonging in the tracks at all. The heaviness and the heavyheartedness of it seems to be too much for her to handle at times.
But do not let this scare you. Beautifully named tracks like ‘Pale Tortured Blue’ and ‘Dusk Mariner’ really live up to the originality of their names. As the record goes on the tracks become somewhat more complex, somewhat different and only better and better. A relatively soft track in the form of ‘Rivers Between Us’ features some clean vocals by the grunting Jacobsson and leads op to a magnificent closer: ‘The Marriage Of Attaris’. Nine atmospheric minutes of doom laden beauty and quality. It finishes this track in high class.
Doom never used to be my favorite style, even worse, I used to dislike it. As AHAB came along some weeks ago, my vision slowly changed and the beauty of Draconian’s new work has absolutely opened my eyes some more. With a couple of utterly amazing tracks and some moments that seem to lack a bit of balance between miss Langhans’ vocals and the heavy music, ‘Sovran’ isn’t perfect. But it’s an amazingly good doom work, I can promise you that!
- Heavy Lies The Crown
- The Wretched Tide
- Pale Tortured Blue
- Stellar Tombs
- No Lonelier Star
- Dusk Mariner
- Rivers Between Us
- The Marriage Of Attaris