Review Summary: Not a terrible effort, just extremely predictable.
Most metal fans have probably heard of Draconian at one point or another. Hailing from Sweden, Draconian has been putting out a somber mix of death, doom, and gothic metal for around 2 decades now. What used to really make them interesting was their ability to mesh together gothic undertones and crushing death/doom all into one final product. On their newest album, Sovran
, they do much of the same, which is where a lot of the problem lies.
First off, I won't say that this is a bad album because it's not. Sovran
never had any moments where you think to yourself "wow this flat out sucks." What it does have, however, is plenty of moments where you find yourself looking to see how much longer you have to get through and that's really the main problem here. Lack of interesting riffs and really any variation throughout a 50 minute album isn't helping their case either. The guitar work doesn't switch pace at all and sounds like they're rehashing the same riffs over and over for the entire album. Previous albums such as Turning Season Within
and Arcane Rain Fell
at least showed the band displaying their emotion with different riffs and drum patterns. Here they sound like a band that's getting bored with the style they're playing and that's just the truth.
The most interesting aspect of this record, and the best aspect, is the addition of full-time female vocalist Heike Langhans alongside Anders doing the male vocals as always. While she joined the band in 2012, this is the first full-length album with her as a member. Her vocals aren't anything that you probably haven't heard before, but the angelic yet melancholic sound of her voice at least adds something that Draconian has never really had before. Anders' vocals are also well done, but a little stale at this point as well if I'm being honest. Simple low growls with little to no variation once again, and while they're done quite well, it's something we've all gotten used to and can predict at this point in the band's career.
Overall, if you're a fan of death, doom, and/or gothic metal, there's a chance you'll like this. However, if you're a fan of the band already, you've heard this before. You just have to decide if you're up for another album worth of slow riffs that end up not really going anywhere and a vocal performance that is only really highlighted when the female vocals come in.