Get ready for some magic and despair, never-ending melancholy, haunting music, sweet singing and desperate screams, because this is what this album sounds like.
Draconian play the slow, mournful and haunted sound of gothic/doom metal perfectly. As soon as the first song starts, you’re already fully immersed in that sound and stay until the end, even though this is a long and difficult road. Yes, this is music that inspires poetic descriptions, just as poetic as its lyrics.
This is an album that sounds really good, with its melancholic melodies and its emotions worn on its sleeve. Just the first track, Sorrows of Sophia, makes you feel the torments of the titular character. Other tracks like Moon Over Sabaoth have an even more heart-breaking melancholy.
The vocals carry a great deal of emotion. The last time I listened to Draconian, they still had Lisa Johansson as a vocalist. Heike Langhans is a good replacement for her, because she sounds fairly different but has an equally emotional delivery. She doesn’t use an operatic singing style, but she has a pleasant, soft voice, that can sometimes sound lower and more mysterious on tracks like The Sacrificial Flame. Anders Jacobsson is the other half of their beauty and the beast pair, though unlike other similar singing duos, I don’t think they are having a dialogue in the songs. Instead, they are playing different moods of the same narrator, if that makes sense. The moods he embodies, with his raspy growls, his low-pitched speak-singing and his whisper-growls where he hisses the word “desire” in The Sacrificial Flame, are melancholy, despair and evil impulses.
But there is another mood on this album: a sort of mystical ambiance. This is another important theme of the album, as you can find mythological references to Sophia and Sabaoth, among other things. But most of all, The Sacrificial Flame, my favorite song by far, is about a sort of magical ritual, and does have the atmosphere of a sabbath. Of course, the mythological tales on this album feel dark and melancholic too.
So this is an emotionally charged album, with an ethereal and otherworldly feel. The very definition of beautiful music. This has all the things I love about gothic/doom metal, the long and complex song, the dark aesthetic, all the heartbreak and dark emotions, the magical atmosphere and the great vocals. It’s an album that’s as great to listen to as it is to talk about. It’s also great that one of the 90s goth metal bands is still active and doing good work. At least, we can count on a lot of good music this year…
Release date: October 30th, 2020
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