Genre: Gothic Metal, Doom
Label: Napalm Records
Ah, Draconian. When referring to a law or the application therefor of, it means to be extremely harsh and/or outdated. But when referring to the Swedish gothic doom band, this is most certainly not the case! I wonder if there is an actual correlation between the name they chose and their music? Maybe they sing in the language of the dragons?
As soon as things start moving along, I’m instantly reminded of Battlelore. A tired and overdone comparison I’m sure, but an accurate one at that (Yes, I know that Draconian predates their Finnish label mates by about five years, but I heard Battlelore first so the comparison stands further). Opening track The Drowning Age is a behemoth of steel thorns and rows and rows of severed heads on pikes! Every time I hear the line, “Let’s bring our Gods to the gallows; a new moon will shine on you!” I get the goosebumps! (Plus, any song that mentions the Chimera is insta-win in my book since it’s my daughter’s name.)
If there’s one thing that Draconian does right in A Rose For The Apocalypse, it’s the darkly romantic mood it casts in both the lyrical and instrumental senses. Elysian Night is an excellent example of this with it’s slow tempo, melodic female vocals (also the best song to just sit and groove on her singing as well) and expertly sectioned synths. The later is something that most bands of this kind of genre tend to overuse or turn into a gimmick. Thankfully, Draconian does not.
However, what they do overuse is they same basic song structure for just about every song on the album. If you don’t mind your gothic doom a little on the repetitive side (and how can you not since it’s another pitfall that these type of bands fall into) then this won’t bug you in the slightest.
Overall: A Rose For The Apocalypse is an extremely enjoyable album. From the depths of the nightmare evoking growls to height of the ethereal lyrics, Draconian drinks from the chalice of awesome! …even if none of them sound like Sean Connery. (BOOM! Dragonheart reference!)
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