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Draconian - The Burning Halo

Published Oct. 26 2006

=Staff's pick

She Dies*
Through Infectious Waters (A Sickness Elegy)
The Dying
Serenade Of Sorrow*
The Morningstar
The Gothic Embrace
On Sunday They Will Kill The World (Ekseption-cover)
Forever My Queen (Pentagram-cover)

Genre Gothic Doom Metal
Anders J./Lisa J.
Tracks 8
Johan Ericsson
Runningtime 54 Min.
Daniel Arvidsson
Label Napalm Records
Fredrik Johansson
Release 02 Oct. 2006
Jerry Torstensson
Country Sweden
Andreas Karlsson
Similar artists Tristania, My Dying Bride

I might as well put the cards on the table from the very start, and confess that I haven't heard either of Draconian's two albums that preceded The Burning Halo, their third release so far. Perhaps this isn't the right album to discover the band with, since it contains only three new songs, three revamped demos and two covers. But then again, maybe this is just the right way to get to know the band, as The Burning Halo displays both old and new sides of Draconian?

Draconian hails from Säffle in western Sweden, and consists of seven musicians, including two vocalists. But while Anders Jacobsson growls, Lisa Johansson has a crystal clear and beautiful voice. In terms of the music, My Dying Bride feels like a fitting simile. As well as Paradise Lost of course, who started their careers playing a mix of doom and death, before switching gears to gothic metal, exactly the same genres that Draconian has used to form a sound of their own.

With the exception of the covers, none of the songs on The Burning Halo are shorter than five minutes, the longest being almost ten. I find myself enjoying certain parts of most tracks, but rarely a whole song. The piano-melodies that pop up here and there are always enchanting, and the parts where Lisa Johansson sings are easily the best on the album, but it's simply not enough. I don't mean to piss off all the Draconian-fans out there, but the growls mostly annoy me and I would rather see that they were left out. Also, the generally slow pace means that this is not for the impatient.

The songs Serenade Of Sorrow, The Morningstar and The Gothic Embrace are all originally from Draconian's 1999-demo The Closed Eyes Of Paradise. Apparently the band recorded new versions of these tracks since the fans demanded it, and when listening to Serenade Of Sorrow I can see why the requests were many. The opening has a higher tempo than the rest of the material, with dramatic strings that would make Nightwish green with envy, and the rest of the track is neat as well. Hopefully the band will choose this path more often in the future.

Unfortunately the two cover songs (by Ekseption and Pentagram) are just moderately exciting, which ends this so called "bonus album" on a bad note. Otherwise, the production is flawless, and fans of the band and this genre will most likely need to purchase this.

See also review of: Turning Season Within






5 chalices of 10 - Niklas

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