Draconian - Turning season within 4.5/5

Reviewed: 4-11-08





Tracklist:

1. Seasons apart
2. When I wake
3. Earthbound
4. Not breathing
5. The failure epiphany
6. Morphine cloud
7. Bloodflower
8. The empty stare
9. September ashes


In a time where new power metal bands are hitting me from all directions, I decided to take a small break from reviewing power metal and have switched my attention to a different side of metal, where Draconian sits on top of the highest mountain. I first discovered Draconian in 2004 (after their debut 'Where lovers mourn' was released), while in the middle of an in-depth investigation into symphonic/gothic metal bands with the "beauty and the beast" vocal style. So it was this vocal style that first drew me to the band.

It eventually became obvious to me that Draconian was one of the better bands with "beauty and the beast" vocals, as their very solid debut really grew on me over time. It took longer than usual though, as Draconian's doomy style was something I wasn't into at the time. I'm glad I was patient, because their 2nd CD ('Arcane rain fell') completely blew me away! Not only is it a tremendous listen thoughout, but the very long closer "Death, come dear me" was by far the best song of its kind that I had ever heard. To this day, that epic monster is the best song I have ever heard from a symphonic metal, gothic metal or doom metal band, period. When I need music to plunge itself into my soul, I turn that song on, at the highest volume possible.

While not as powerful as 'Arcane rain fell', their 3rd CD ('The burning halo') is also very solid, and probably at the level of their debut. It's a bit different than their first 2 CDs however, as it contains remastered demo tracks (from the past), some new songs, and even a few covers. Though I enjoy 'The burning halo', when I need a dose of Draconian, 9 times out of 10 I reach for 'Arcane rain fell'.

So now we have the band's 4th CD ('Turning season within'), and man is it killer! From start to finish, this is a superb listen, and the perfect blend of symphonic metal, doom metal, atmospheric metal and gothic metal. The music is haunting, dramatic and truly captivating. The tempo and emotion ranges from soothing to intense, while your mind wanders throughout each and every moment. The angelic (non-operatic) voice of Lisa Johansson (the "beauty") is brilliantly countered by Anders Jacobsson (the "beast"). This guy is truly amazing, and along with Morten Veland of Sirenia, is the best growler out there, in my opinion.

Though every song on the CD is phenominal, I will pick track 3 "Earthbound", track 6 "Morphine cloud" and track 7 "Bloodflower" (especially) as my personal favorites. These songs (along with the others, really) are just so powerful and impacting, I look forward to them every time I start to spin the CD. Oh, and this is not a CD that should be listened to in the background while working folks, it needs and deserves your full attention! Though I listen to music just about everywhere I am, 'Turning season within' has completely taken over my home-stereo system and there's nothing as awesome as playing this CD loud.

Although Draconian is my first experience with a band that leans towards this type of doom metal, some of 'Turning season within' recalls the early material from Tristania, Sirenia and After Forever, so fans of those bands shouldn't be tentative in giving Draconian a chance. In fact, regardless of where your main tastes lie, it's imperative that you open up your arms to the amazing Draconian.



CLINT




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