DRACONIAN “Under A Godless Veil” (2020)

Almost five years after their sixth long-player ‘Sovran’, DRACONIAN once again cast their breathtaking veil of melancholy over the world. This second full-length release featuring singer Heike Langhans delivers a captivating mélange of dreary doom and contrasty vocals and mixes Heike’s angelic female voice with Anders Jakobsson‘s death growls.

The one-hour long album, graced with a haunting cover artwork by Natalia Drepina, is carrying the legacy of gothic doom metal à la My Dying Bride or Trees Of Eternity into the new decade and will drag the listener into a sorrowful cosmos right with the first notes of the spellbinding opener ‘Sorrow Of Sophia’ that interweaves beauty with crippling depression. After crushing slow rhythms and the fragile ‘Sleepwalkers’ that leads through barren soundscapes, the band – founded in Säffle / Sweden in 1994 – rises up to their best in the nine-minute long ‘Ascend Into Darkness’, which will echo in the listener’s ears long after the final chord has died away.

DRACONIAN states: “To Draconian, ‘Under A Godless Veil’ is by far the most diverse album we have created. Inspired by some of the music closest to Johan’s heart; everything from traditional doom to scaled-down, gothic rock-inspired pieces and more. Some will perhaps describe the songs as more refined and meditative. Some ambient elements have been added to the mix without overshadowing the traditional characteristics that are Draconian

Resonating with the compositions, Anders’s lyrical direction is ambiguous and a progression of the first two-three albums, yet more subtle while embracing the Gnostic philosophy more directly. One could say ‘Under A Godless Veil’ is an act of contemplation; about living and dying and remembering who we are in a strange, abrasive world far from home.

8/10

Draconian – Under A Godless Veil (Napalm Records)