DRACONIAN’s former records “Where Lovers Mourn” and “Arcane Rain Fell” have been received with good to very good reviews and as with “The Burning Halo” a new record of the Swedes has been released, I was really delighted and hoping for another Doom/Death nibble. But those who were hoping for a new material from the septet from Säffle, will be only partly satisfied because this record is a compilation of three new songs, three re-recordings form the 1999 demo CD from “The Closed Eyes Of Paradise” and two cover versions.
The three new tracks are placed in front and are offering a divine mixture of Doom Metal, the Death Metal vocals of Anders Jacobson and a light Gothic touch along with female vocals performed by Lisa Johansson. “She Dies” is a perfect example for this stylistic blend and shows why so many people consider them one of the leading acts of this genre. The voice of Jacobsson dominates the tracks and spoken words and female vocals are being applied accentual , only on “The Dying” Lisa gets a bigger role for the first time, and this track is a masterpiece, from soft to Doom-double-bass, with constantly changing intensity and indirect vocal interplay, a really great song!
The three re-recorded tracks fit seamless into the sound of the band, with awesome dynamics and changing atmosphere, showing that they had already found an own sound, which got refined in the following years, with keyboard passages, heavy guitars, dreamy atmosphere, brilliantly attuned vocals passages and of course ingenious melodies. Most of all “The Morningstar” sticks out, which masterfully combines all the above mentioned elements. Then, the end is brought up by the EKSEPTION cover version “On Sunday The Will Kill The World” (pure Doom as well, but with high classical share) and the PENTAGRAM cover “Forever My Queen” (does not really fit into the picture, the PENTAGRAM-style being somewhat different).
Even if not everything is new on this record, and some will question the legitimacy of such a release, it must be admitted that “The Burning Halo” is a highlight of the genre for the year in progress, which should please the fans and adepts of this genre!! (Online September 19, 2006)