Draconian - Sovran

Draconian Sovran cover
Napalm Records
I remember Draconian being at it for a number of years now, debuting sometime in the early 00s after spending about a decade demo-ing away and getting a more definite line-up. While a lot of bands that started back in the day, or earlier, had diversified greatly sometimes transcending the genre boundaries into pop or electro territory completely, these Swedes never did so, choosing to keep their style quite consistent and just trying to evolve within the realms of it. The contrast between Anders Jakobsson’s growls with new female vocalist Heike Langhans (Ison, ex-Inferium), who makes her recording debut on this album, the band’s sixth overall, is great and the way in which the melodies and voices are interwoven seems to work to great effect. I was reminded of a more gothic and heavier version of mid-era Septic Flesh, with female vocals that alluded to early Within Temptation in terms of timbral quality.
Draconian seem to be utilizing the old beauty/beast dipole superbly well, while managing to keep things doomy and unpretentious sounding. Tristania, early Theater Of Tragedy, The Sins Of Thy Beloved etc., all seem to be further contributing factors to the band’s style and sound, without them actually having to try and emulate any of the above as they seem to have “naturally” evolved to their current “sound”, but I must say that a lot of the mournful flourishes in the melodies are quite akin to early My Dying Bride, more than subtly… without however being plagiarism.
There’s not the greatest variety in the band’s style, but they manage to keep the listener engaged, despite their songs being quite lengthy mainly because of the quality of their riffs and the way in which the vocal melodies impact. Be it the “The Wretched Tide”, “Pale Tortured Blue”, “Dishearten” or the “Rivers Between Us” (featuring vocalist Daniel Anghede of Crippled Black Phoenix), Draconian seem to pull off the style that made Theater Of Tragedy famous, but in a heavier way that could easily enthrall fans of old Paradise Lost, Anathema (pre “Alternative 4”) and My Dying Bride… not an album I was expecting, but one that most pleasantly surprised me with how authentic and authoritative it sounds. Well Done.