Drautan - Throne Of The Depths
Lupus Lounge
Black Metal
9 songs (50:35)
Release year: 2007
Drautan, Lupus Lounge
Reviewed by Goat

Throne Of The Depths is the first release from Drautan in nearly nine years, the Germans clearly adhering to the ‘less-is-more’ work ethic. Judging from this album, it’s a real pity, as the band’s brand of Emperor-infused Pagan fury is highly enjoyable, even if the cover art is similar to the Norwegian legend’s; showing swarms of spirits flowing over mountains. It’s a relief, then, to play the album and see that Drautan is capable of more than mere apery.

Lengthy intro Zum Haff hinaus... sets the scene with acoustics and spoken vocals, steadily mounting riffs building up to keyboard-backed chaos, before exploding with Blót - Lohen der Opferung. Make no mistake, when Drautan sounds like Emperor it really, really sounds like Emperor, and there are moments when you’re not sure you’ve put the right CD in! Persist, however, enjoying the Imperial homage as best you can, and you’ll soon begin to notice the Folk influences and spacey ambience, such as in An den Pforten des Sturmes.

Of course, if you’ve any experience at all with Black Metal the odds are that you either know Emperor’s albums by heart or hate everything to do with Ihsahn et al, in which case there’s little I can say to persuade you. This is like reviewing a Prog-Power band without mentioning Dream Theater - damn difficult! Still, this is a quality reinterpretation of the formula, no doubt about it. The seven-minute Gebaren des Sterbens in klanglosen Sphären is a ripping example of riff-driven Black Metal, complete with epic female vocals, the following song Sævar Niðr comprised solely of wordless female vocals and an acoustic guitar.

It’s not all good, however. Whereas tracks like Styrt ned I Mælstraumen are capable of balance, Dusk of the Fimbulwinter is too chaotic for its own good, keyboards and guitars clashing rather than working together. You have to question the wisdom of having a sampled conversation in German over the end of the song, too, as this just repels non-natives.

Ultimately, there’s much promise here, but whether the band will be able to build upon it for the follow-up remains to be seen. More of the likes of Gen Niflheim, and its raven calls and running water, please, and less Emperor-worship – then Drautan will be a force to reckon with.

Killing Songs :
Blót - Lohen der Opferung, Gebaren des Sterbens in klanglosen Sphären
Goat quoted 73 / 100
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