Draconian, "Arcane Rain Fell"
These cats started out as a gothic metal band but have morphed into a death doom group with gothic tendencies. Wicked strong gothic tendencies. Gothic tendencies that will either get your E.A. Poe on or make you run screaming for the door. I'm not talkin' about girly singin' (though it crops up on occasion), I'm talkin' about tons and tons of male narration dealing with poetic musings on God and Devil. The sort of thing that makes angry teens carve cryptic symbols into their flesh. The kind of thing that also causes the anti-cheese critics to break out their graters and grind CDs into pulp. Me? I LOVE cheese (if you haven't garnered that by now), so this record is rawkin' my bleak, obsidian night. It's apparently a seven-song concept album dealing with the fall of God's angels (the Nephilim? Hell, I don't remember. I guess I have to hit the books again at some point, as I'm forgetting all of my metal mythology. Mortgage payments and religious apathy will do that to you). The last track is a rerecording of an old time fave from some other album.
Simplistic, heavy power chords are accompanied by melody lines that are often repeated. Doom haters would say ad nauseam, but I dig the vibe that great doom bands create, and Draconian can lock onto that vibe and pound on it for a long time to great effect. The vocals are typically throaty death growls with nice timbre. Not quite up to par with Michael Akerfeldt of Opeth, but very convincing and intelligible. The girly vox are fine, eschewing the operatics and utilizing a basic, sweet delivery. Draconian are one of the few "beauty and the beast" bands where the beast outshines the beauty. As a metalhead, I appreciate that. The tracks are long and plodding, but contain enough dimension and atmosphere to remain interesting. Synths are present, but not glaringly so, the guitars and vocals run the show. Production is clean and sharp and the mix suits the material perfectly. This is a powerful release, and if you can tolerate the narrative sections (which are actually handled very well), methinks the songs will suck you in and envelop you in the abysmal curtain of gloom that pervades every god forsaken note contained therein. If that last sentence didn't get your cheese-odmeter running in the red, Draconian are for you. The band certainly gets the big ups from me. Put out the lights, fire up the candles and pass the absinthe, oh dark ones.