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Draconian - Sovran

Label: Napalm Records
Format: CD Download
Released: 2015
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 9.5/ 10

Draconian's 2015 release, "Sovran," is a funereal masterpiece, gothic, gorgeous, and sublime. There are passages in ‘Stellar Tombs’, ‘Dishearten’, and ‘Pale Tortured Blue’ that achieve true sonic beauty, with the most transcendent sections featuring vocalist, Heike Langhans. Her voice just isn't fair. She brings a melancholic power and purity reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan, juxtaposed against the emotive growls of Anders Jakobsson. Drenched in bleak depression and restrained down-tunings, there are no moments of metal abandon, even during the fleeting double-bass tempo shifts. . . the only release is emotional, catharsis through intertwined sadness and majesty.


Following four previous studio albums, along with numerous high-end demos in their early days, Draconian have fully realized themselves and perfected their process, even with the relatively recent addition of Langhans. They only have one color , one shade, in their pallets, and as a result, "Sovran" sounds more like 9 movements in one grand, somber piece than 9 distinct songs. This lack of variety, along with its thick, downhearted atmosphere, will doubtless turn some kinds of listeners away. These aspects do make full album listens arduous, even emotionally taxing. Some things are worth the effort, however. I recommend that "Sovran" and its multitude of wonders and triumphs be experienced in chapters of 2-4 songs at a time. Whatever you do, though, make sure you experience it; let its greatest moments embed themselves in your brain, as they have in mine. "Sovran" is one of the best releases of 2015.

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