Review Summary: Aeternum Vale, Part Two.Dead Words Speak
, the second full length from Draconian’s Johan Ericson, is an example of almost nonexistent progression in a band’s music. Aeternum Vale
, DOOM:VS’s 2006 debut, came out as a surprise; it was very well put together, and although it drew heavily from typical death/doom influences, Ericson managed to carve himself a small foothold in the already bloated sub-genre. However, replicating Aeternum Vale
in the guise of a sophomore album was not the wisest of decisions.
was a good album in that it achieved a sense of desolation through Ericson’s method of creating a seemingly cold and bleak atmosphere; it wasn’t incredibly original, but then again most death/doom isn’t either. On Dead Words Speak
, Ericson uses the same tricks and unfortunately doesn’t fool anybody. Rather than the feeling of desolation his first album invoked, Dead Words Speak
feels lifeless and terribly uninspired. Memorable melodies or climaxes of any sort are severely lacking, and Ericson’s attempt at bleakness is brought crashing down by very uncreative songwriting. There isn’t much to find on the album in terms of innovation; a lot of the songs use similar melodies and riffs, and there really isn’t any interplay between the various components of the music. There is the occasional spark of inventiveness, as can be seen by the guitar solo on the title track, but overall, Dead Words Speak
is an empty listen, difficult to derive any satisfaction from.
Of course, Dead Words Speak
isn’t all that bad. One of the best things about Aeternum Vale
was Ericson’s vocals, and his performance on Dead Words Speak
is equally strong. Both his gutturals and clean singing, although not varying much from his debut, are superb, and this album’s lone saving grace. Unfortunately, Ericson did not drop his tiresome spoken word sections. They were forgivable on Aeternum Vale
, but the atmosphere on Dead Words Speak
is nonexistent, so any mood enhancing devices are left stark and awkward, hence a detriment to the album. It’s unfortunate, but this simply undermines any headway Ericson achieved through his other vocals.
Dead Words Speak
is not a genuinely bad album; rather, it’s simply a poor replication of Ericson’s debut. It doesn’t have the excuse of being the single album, no less a debut, that Aeternum Vale
had, so the album’s flagrant unoriginality and uninteresting nature are left out in the open. In all respects, Dead Words Speak
is an obvious duplicate of Ericson’s debut, and there is absolutely nothing to commend about that.