“The Burning Halo” by Draconian

Artist: Draconian
Title: “The Burning Halo”
Label: Napalm Records
Release Date: 10/10/2006
Genre: Gothic Doom Metal
Rating: 4/5

Sweden’s Draconian began their dark existence back in 1994 as Kerberos but when Anders Jacobsson (poet and lead singer) joined them – Draconian was officially born. On their third album, “The Burning Halo”, the band serves up a deliciously morose brand of Gothic Metal that I think any fan of the genre will appreciate. More of a compilation than a new full-length release the album itself is made up of only three new original songs while the rest of it finds redone demos from “The Closed Eyes Of Paradise” and two covers that the band gives the Draconian treatment. Overpowering and intense would be the best way to describe the new originals that are included and each of them is an epic number. I suppose that this works best for Gothic Metal since it’s easier to get to the building point after six minutes rather than falling into the Pop song standard of four. Each of the songs is performed by their two lead singers, who are definitely in command of the whole “Beauty & The Beast” style for while Anders growls and snarls on most of the parts only stopping to speak during others, Lisa Johansson slices the riffs like a melodic siren with her beautiful tones. While I enjoyed each of the new tracks, the best of the three of them is definitely “The Dying” for it adventures into a number of different feels and ties everything together very well. The decision to rework the demos from 1999 was a good idea for it allows a new fan base in this ever-growing genre to build and also appreciate the bands earlier music now done by them as more seasoned musicians. My favorite of these numbers was the very moving tempo of “Serenade Of Sorrow”. “The Gothic Embrace” is pretty good as well, and has segments which reminded me a little of My Dying Bride based on the spoken word and its dark poetry base. The covers were interesting since one is from a 70’s Progressive band called Ekseption and while I have never heard the original song can admit that it surely sounded good after it had been Gothed up and Doomed down. “Forever My Queen” I was not crazy about because I felt it left the overall style of the album behind a bit too much for the sake of them acting out some kind of Black Sabbath jam band thing. The song was originally performed by the Doom band Pentagram and might have been better served as a cover by Witchcraft.

As a band the lineup for Draconian is staggering with a seven member enterprise and while massive in scope compared to other Metal bands there is no sense of overlapping and none of the players seems to be tripping over each other. Currently, the lineup stands as Anders Jacobsson (vocals), Lisa Johansson (vocals), Johan Ericson (lead guitar), Daniel Arvidsson (rhythm guitar), Jerry Torstensson (drums), Fredrik (Johannson (bass) and Andreas Karlsson (keyboards/programming). Both Anders and Johan have been in the band the longest (1994/95) while Fredrik is the newest member. Draconian is a band that is very easy to get into should you already enjoy the Gothic Metal genre and bands like Type-O-Negative and especially the most recent Moonspell offerings. It’s heavier than other Goth-Metal like Tristania and Sirenia, but similar to those bands makes wonderful use of the vocal dualities.

Track Listing:
1. She Dies
2. Through Infectious Waters (A Sickness Elegy)
3. The Dying
4. Serenade Of Sorrow
5. The Morningstar
6. The Gothic Embrace
7. On Sunday The Will Kill the World
8. Forever My Queen

Official Website: www.draconian.se

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