Draconian – A Rose For the Apocalypse (Napalm Records)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 8/10

A band that is criminally underrated and overlooked in the Goth metal scene, Sweden’s Draconian have emerged as one of Goth’s most dependable bands. Their track record has no real blip, with albums like their 2003 debut Where Lovers Mourn and the excellent Turning Season Within able to wallow in the spoils of heartfelt and sleek Goth metal, all the while churning out pretty little melodies that will charm the (leather) pants off of you. Such is the case for the band’s fifth album, A Rose For the Apocalypse.

Again the vocal interplay between Lisa Johansson and Anders Jacobsson are at the forefront, with the pair picking their spots on album highlight “The Last Hour Ancient Sunlight,” where Johansson sings over a gentle cascade of melodic guitars, while Jacobsson fills in the blanks during a chorus that reminds one of fellow countrymen Swallow the Sun. The band goes on the attack during “End of the Rope” (love the Katatonia circa 1996 main riff) and “Dead World Assembly.”

When the band tones things down and lets the melodies breathe, the results are near-breathtaking. “Elysian Night” is evident of this, with Johannson working her magic during a spellbinding (and very choral) verse, while on “A Phantom Dissonance” she steals the show during a somber acoustic guitar portion that belies most of the song’s brutish nature.

As noted above, Draconian has built a solid body of work by sticking to the ideals of lush Goth metal. There’s no secret formula here, and having two instantly identifiable vocalists only furthers the band’s cause. A Rose For the Apocalypse strikes all the right chords, and should nudge the aforementioned (and equally-as-awesome) Swallow the Sun to up the ante.

www.draconian.se

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)