Draconian - Sovran
Napalm Records
Gothic Doomdeath
9 songs (63'08")
Release year: 2015
Draconian, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

Recently my wife told me that with all work and kids stuff I absolutely don't spend enough time with her. To correct this situation she bought us a couple of tickets to the local Opera House. While sitting there in between the acts of Madama Butterfly we found it an interesting fact that many classic operas are based on very sad librettos. Broken promises, destroyed loves and lives, suicidal tendencies. And, both as a result and consequence, many composers needed to go to minor flavored music to express all that depression. Also, isn't it a proven musical psychology fact that humans respond more profoundly to minor notes anyway? Wouldn't it be a safe assumption then that modern gothic doomdeath and 19th century opera composers would be comfortably fitting on the same page?

Speaking of gothic doomdeath, Swedish Draconian are not only purveyors of the genre, they are occupying a place at its very top. I'm making this statement because not only they have been consistent, believed in their credo and strived to improve. But also because they craft melodies like the one opening Heavy Lies the Crown and reverberating it throughout. Draconian are masters of these pieces of music, which can split you wide open, pull out the guts and first string them together, only to mangle them later into one tight nervy bulb. Harmonies galore (The Wretched Tide), persistent mid-paced sweet stately sadness just pouring out of every pore (No Lonelier Star, Pale Tortured Blue), melodic haunt (Rivers Between Us) - I'm very happy to hear that with Sovran Draconian remains on the same trajectory we have come to know and love.

The band has a new female singer Heike Langhans, and they are not afraid to showcase her. Heike is allowed to go on long independent parts (, Pale Tortured Blue). Not the most powerful or operatic soprano, Heike possesses soothing velvety touch, which in some cases makes her comparable to Anneke Von Giersbergen from The Gathering (Pale Tortured Blue). Anders Jacobsson, on the other hand, is the Draconian constant which has not changed a bit. He is his same passionate self, tragic, strong, anxious, ripping aside and away the eerie atmospheric parts, replacing them with monumental My Dying Bride grandiosity (The Marriage of Attaris). Even when Heike partakes in a cleanly sung duet with Daniel Anghede guesting on Rivers Between Us, Anders a finds the gall to barge in. Speaking of duets, in all honesty we should call them trios on Sovran, since Heike and Anders are more often than not joined by constantly moving, gliding, smooth, yet shrill and penetrating guitars. Sovran is probably the best guitar work Draconian has ever put together and even murkier songs like Dusk Mariner get elevated by magnificent leads.

Sovran is such a strong album that you can take just any cut from it, play it, and be stunned. That was probably the reason I missed my last week’s update (besides going to the opera), since I pretty much had Sovran on repeat. But then, and this should not be construed as a criticism, one reaches a level of saturation with the album. There is only so much of suffer, suffer, suffer, climb, climb, climb you can take. The fall inevitably comes, so the latter tracks just don’t hit as hard as Heavy Lies the Crown, The Wretched Tide or Pale Tortured Blue. As The Marriage of Attaris so properly puts it, “so tired” is the state you will be in, so my recommendation is to take Sovran in small portions at first, and then insatiable thirst for the whole will inevitably develop.

Killing Songs :
Heavy Lies the Crown, The Wretched Tide, Pale Tortured Blue, The Marriage of Attaris
Alex quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Draconian that we have reviewed:
Draconian - A Rose for the Apocalypse reviewed by Alex and quoted 86 / 100
Draconian - Turning Season Within reviewed by Alex and quoted 93 / 100
Draconian - The Burning Halo reviewed by Adam and quoted 84 / 100
Draconian - Arcane Rain Fell reviewed by Alex and quoted 93 / 100
Draconian - Where Lovers Mourn reviewed by Jack and quoted 90 / 100
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