Sweden is one of my favorite countries to produce Metal, and Scandinavia has a good reputation for Doom Metal in particular. My theory is those dreary, dark, and long hellacious winters inspire fantastically dark music. The guitars become sludgy yet melodic, the drums slow and careless, the bass emanating to your chest, and the vocals chest rattling or painfully clean. It’s beautiful and haunting depressive music. It is unlike anything I’ve heard. Bands like Pentagram, Candlemass, and Count Raven have epicly captured Doom Metal and passed it onto future generations. However, there is one band in particular I find highly underrated in this sub genre. Draconian began in 1994, mixing growling vocals with high quality female clean vocals. There is something so wonderful and otherworldly. While I love a lot of Doom Metal, Draconian stands out for me more than almost any band (Agalloch being the exception). They are extremely hard to describe, in a good way. I feel like any Draconian album is difficult to review, but “Sovran” of 2015 deserves a highlight.
“Sovran” is a highly anticipated release for any Doom and Death Metal nerd, but does it deliver? Is “Sovran” as good as past albums? A vocalist change in 2010 might have been a surprise, but newcomer Heike stands up to the task of delivering haunting vocals. Lisa was incredible, but Heike brings this modern clean touch. Her voice is very reminiscent of the great Sharon Den Adel and the budding operatic Soprano Dianne Van Giersbergen. This type of voice will bring new Draconian fans in with an approachable clean tone, mixing with the guttural growls from Anders Jacobsson. “Sovran” is every bit as heavy, dark, haunting, and effortlessly orchestrated as past albums. Here Lies the Crown reminds me of Behemoth tracks; Slow, dark, mystical, and beautifully Gothic. The Wretched Tide is all about Doom and Gloom, a little heavier than other tracks. Every song is at least six minutes long, creating epic after epic. One of my favorite songs off of “Sovran” is Pale Tortured Blue. This song is the catchiest off the album and perfectly balanced. To sum this album up, it is everything you expect from Draconian, but nothing more. It does not stand up to previous albums
“Sovran” is an album that achieves Nihilistic Doom and depressive sounds, while being beautiful. Stellar Tombs captures these vibes perfectly and is a good beginner track for those new to such great music. I think that this album lacks some emotion in some tracks, but it is Doom Metal so I will give it a pass. It is a great album, but doesn’t quite stick in my head. My problem with most Doom Metal bands is that every track on an album runs together and is pretty much the same over and over. I would compare this album to that of Ghost Brigade’s “IV: One With the Storm”, because of the Funeral type feel. However, that release strives above because the dynamics. Not every track is the same formula. While Draconian’s formula for “Sovran” and all releases is great and world renown, I think they need a drastic change to keep listeners entertained. I like this album and a lot of tracks, but altogether it does not evoke the emotion or the power I expected. It has no groove, no drone, no interesting instrumental parts. It is kind of flat and boring. If you don’t turn this album up loud, you wouldn’t really notice it in the background. I really do love Draconian, but they need more creativity and diversity to keep people’s’ interest. It’s true to everything Draconian is, but brings nothing new to the table besides a new vocalist that is slightly different
Traditional Doom Metal fans and Draconian fans alike will enjoy this album, but I desperately want to hear something more dynamic.
Rating:6 out of 10