Draconian – A Rose For The Apocalypse (2011) Album Review

Overlooking Draconian was a hard thing to do. I am not someone that knows about the band since their formation. I encountered this marvelous band when they released their second album only. What I heard while listening it was stunning. Draconian is not the typical doom metal nor the typical Gothic metal band, it combines both genres and the result is purely fantastic, a harmony between these two styles I have not encountered.

When I think that Draconian doesn’t benefit from popularity, I think it is a real shame, because they offered so much quality in their works and without a doubt, they will have much more to offer in the future. Draconian changed from a death/doom metal band into a Gothic Doom metal band by the time Anders Jacobsson joined the band. Until then, the band did not release a full length album and it won’t happen until 2003 when Where Lovers Mourn was released.

A Rose For the Apocalypse is not an album that changes the musical style Draconian delivered until now, in fact, it takes it to a whole new level. It can be felt that in this album, the one that dominates it is not Anders but Lisa Johansson, thing that could be witnessed in a more earlier release called Turning Season Within. This album proves to be a lot more melodic and also much more somber and melancholic than its predecessor, probably because Lisa’s calm yet sorrowful voice mostly dominates it. From my point of view, Lisa is one of the most underrated female vocalist, her voice is not just good, it is not something that can be called “talent” or something that could be obtained through hard training, but she has feeling in it, she can express emotions, and her calm voice in several songs such as Deadlight, Dead World Assembly or The Death of Hours is just stunning but frightening at the same time, giving you the exact feelings you should expect from a Draconian album.

Instrumentally speaking, this album is the same like the other ones with minor changes. One change is that in this album you can barely hear the keyboard’s sound, which on the first two albums was much more dominant but with Turning Season Within, it slowly started to go in the background. Draconian was never a band that would venture in complicated and unconventional musical structures. Stylistically speaking, their music is not complex at all and this is maybe what it is good about them, they manage to make a good product from simplicity, avoiding complex fields. What matters for this band is not song complexity and complicated stuff, but atmosphere and feelings, they just want to deliver to the listener what they expect to hear from a Draconian album, nothing more, nothing less.

I feel that Anders is also getting old, his voice seems a little bit out of shape in this album and his growls have much lower intensity considering that in Turning Season Within, his voice was very aggressive. I might be mistaken, it might be that he reduced his voice intensity so that he could make more space for Lisa’s performance. Though I find it better since in duet’s there is much more harmony.

One thing that I also love about this band is the use of poetry in their music. Songs such as The Death of Hours also include a small fragment from Lawrence Hope and Dead World Assembly contains another small fragment from one of William Black’s poems. The theme of these two poems, fit the image of the band and also the theme of this album.

I remember some lyrics from a Draconian song, I think it was the remastered version of  The Gothic Embrace saying something “An ocean of tears I see”, this is what can describe A Rose For the Apocalypse. A very mournful album, a much more sorrowful one with much more feeling in it and much more emotional than the previous ones. This album also marked the release of Draconian’s first music video for the second song of the album The Last Hour of Ancient Sunlight, which is not really intended for promotion, but rather to send a message and to provide an image of the album to the listener.

An outstanding work coming from a rare, outstanding band. I really hope that we have not seen the last of Draconian’s works, despite the fact that I mourn Lisa’s departure from the band. I am sure that Anders and the gang will pull something up because I believe that this band has much more to offer since I don’t consider their previous albums, nor this new album, a climax in their musical career. There is still room for more, and time seems to be generous as well.

Overall Impression:  100/100