Review Summary: Draconian's first ever release, while occasionally on the mark, is overall not a record to waste one's time & money on. Skip right on to 'Where Lovers Mourn'
Draconian is one of the first metal bands I ever heard. Back when I in middle school, many years ago, my next door neighbor enjoyed hanging out with this creepy dude from across the street forty years his elder. I don't know why, and I don't know what went on behind closed doors, but I know one day my young neighbor left there with 'Where Lovers Mourn' in his hand. He didn't like it so he handed it over to me. I loved it. Now, almost a decade later, I finally looked deeper into the band and expanded my collection. With this, I came upon their demo, 'Dark Oceans We Cry.' I must say, hearing this come out of a band I have enjoyed so much, for so long, that is truly almost what I did.
Out of the seven songs on the demo, three of them reached 'Where Lovers Mourn.' Of those three, only one of them is enough varied to be worth listening to on the demo. The Amaranth & Return to Solitude (retitled The Solitude for the LP) are both just lower quality editions of the later release. It Grieves My Heart, however, the pace is slower than the second release, and have a lot of the keys and notes changed. It feels like a different song, almost. Its an interesting listen, especially if you pair it up WLM.
Two of the songs, Dark Oceans & Memento Mori, are instrumentals. Both play pieces of a clip from a movie that remained part of their first album. Neither of these are overly extraordinary, in fact both are quite boring. Neither are worth listening to.
Finally, we come upon the songs that one could only hear here. First, we encounter Cthulu Rising. With such a name, I have to say, I expected suspense, or some sort of excitement. All I received was boredom. Slow paced in its entirety, this song was another letdown. Multiple times here, the guitarist finds one phrase he likes, and plays it repeatedly for minutes at a time. Just not a good song.
And at last, we come to the one reason someone may actually listen to this disappointing demo: Death Come Near Me. Long enough by itself to be an EP, this depressing epic clocks in at over a quarter of an hour. Expressive, evolving, and blessedly non-constant, this song almost makes this entire experience worth it. In this, one gets a real good taste of what it is Draconian is capable of. The flawless incorporation of violin and piano into the regular metal band set is showcased well here. Just a great song.
Overall, Draconian's first ever release, while occasionally on the mark, is not a record to waste one's time or money on. In looking into this band, I must recommend that you skip the demo and go straight into their debut album. The evolution is just too blatant and full for me to recommend starting at their roots. If anything, just find Death Come Near Me, and listen to that. Otherwise, avoid this one.