Napalm Records, an illuminating example of how good quality music is respected and left alone with the artist signed unto the roster. Here’s a label that wants to promote music with authentic visions therein, one of their finest products of late goes by the drawing title “Arcane Rain Fell”.
DRACONIAN are a gloomy sextet hailing from Sweden but do not practice common Swedish Metal that has become the popular van that far too many new bands jump on nowadays, no no… picture a grieving angel, grey skies, faded trees, anguished landscapes, yes, they’re playing Doom Metal mixed together with gothic melodies supporting a tragic saga of fallen angels and though they might not have the most interesting mix there’s is to find, what they do they do as if they were profs.
I thought “Paradise Belongs To You” (SATURNUS) was the pinnacle of old fashioned Doom Metal (check it out if you haven’t yet btw), on “Arcane Rain Fell” I get the same sensation of solitude, not because I’m sad, suicidal or whatever, it’s the sheer power of dark riffs larger than MY DYING BRIDE, the crimson torrents of lead melodies and mourning keys, the majestic rhythm section blacker than ebony and duelling vocals of Lisa Johansson and Anders Jacobsson bringing back some of that classic beauty & the beast vocal contrasts. Lisa has the smaller role on this album but the timing of her parts are well placed, she gets there right on time just when you’re almost fed up with the repulsive growls.
There’s no big recipe, the chemistry and inspiration is obviously alive and well in the band, they may have released a classic here, no doubt about it. Take the epic opener “A Scenery Of Loss”, “The Abhorrent Rays” (hear those sparks of vintage KATATONIA), the unholy masterpiece that is “The Apostasy Canticle”, the sinister spoken interlude (courtesy of Ryan Henry from NECARE) or “Death, Come Near Me”, a fifteen minute journey through the afterlife, all that is considered heavy, slow and dreamy trademarks in this genre are present and arranged into brilliance. The sound is also very powerful, the guitars really bite, which is also expected in a sound coming from Studio Underground.
The sound of these six despair ridden individuals imprisons the listener in a dark odyssey for approximately an hour, this is a companion who won’t fail you when those dreary autumnal days we face every year approach. Effective Gothic Doom Metal in its most sacred form. (Online October 5, 2005)