Draconian – “Sovran” (2015)

Label: Napalm Records

Review by Warren Mayocchi

Draconian have returned with new female vocalist Heike Langhans. The vocals on this album are a constant conversation between the growling of Anders Jacobsson and the purity of Heike‘s voice. Add ominous bass, delicate keyboards, pounding drums, ponderous guitars and symphonic elements. Thus the gothic doom of Draconian is created. Opening the album is “Heavy Lies The Crown”, it grips the listener with a molten stream of contrasts that do not abate until the final notes of the last track. I particularly like the bass and drums on this album, they create ground for the experience to unfold. They are the platform for the rest of the band to search with their dark, crushing sound for a human resonance. “Pale Tortured Blue” is one of my favourite tracks and it reflects this quest for connection with a lyric, “In adoration bowing can I find you in your dark?/Can you find me in your heart?”

Later in “Rivers Between Us”, we hear a plea for reconciliation, “We’re just two cripples who fail to belong./ Yes, we are two cripples, but we need to hold on”. On that song they change from Anders Jakobsson to the clean vocals of Daniel Änghede (from Crippled Black Phoenix). It also samples philosopher Alan Watts‘s “Lecture on Zen”, “…drift like a cloud and flow like water, seeing that all life is a magnificent illusion, a plane of energy, and that there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Fundamentally. You will be afraid on the surface. You will be afraid of putting your hand in the fire. You will be afraid of getting sick, etc. But you will not be afraid of fear. Fear will pass over your mind like a black cloud will be reflected in the mirror”. It represents another theme of the album – acceptance of pain and sacrifice in the pursuit of the worthwhile.

Music like this resonates, it will undoubtedly have different touch points for each listener and the themes of connection, reconciliation and acceptance are just my own. There is immediate power in being able to deliver slower musical tempos as well as Draconian have done, however they do move faster on occasion. It is another contrast which emphasizes the brilliance of the band and this album.“Sovran” means sovereign, an apt name for such a potent creation.

Rating – 97/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Heavy Lies the Crown
  2. The Wretched Tide
  3. Pale Tortured Blue
  4. Stellar Tombs
  5. No Lonelier Star
  6. Dusk Mariner
  7. Dishearten
  8. Rivers Between Us (feat. Daniel Änghede)
  9. The Marriage of Attaris

Line Up

  • Heike Langhans – Vocals
  • Anders Jacobsson – Vocals
  • Johan Ericson – Lead guitar & backing vocals
  • Daniel Arvidsson – Rhythm guitar
  • Fredrik Johansson – Bass
  • Jerry Torstensson – Drums & percussion

 

Links

facebook.com/draconianofficial

twitter.com/draconianhorde

draconian.se