Draconian - Turning Season Within
Napalm Records
Melodic Deathdoom
9 songs (52'31")
Release year: 2008
Draconian, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

I understand that the labels have to protect their investment, but voiceover promos are the worst. They just plain suck. For me, personally, when that annoying voice comes out in the middle of a track and announces the obvious, like, “you are listening to so and so”, I simply can never get back in the mood. Especially if this mood is supposed to be introspective and somber, something gothic deathdoom must be.

My first get with Turning Season Within was via such promo which I was able to score off the evilBay prior to the album’s official release date. It is good to see that Napalm placed a high enough emphasis on Draconian to resort to such extreme forms, the Swedes deserve it, but my immediate, and unfortunate, reaction was a turnoff. Yet when I had a chance to delve deeper into the album with my own personal CD, lyrics in tow as well, the realization and enjoyment came not to leave me until this moment.

I believe Turning Season Within opens a new dimension for Draconian. The fans of the older, slower and monumental style may dismay, but the sheer power delivered by the Swedes on the album is stunning. Not that there are no heavy plodders on the album (Not Breathing), or stretched out mournful dreamy melodic moments with gingerly stepping rhythm sections (Morphine Cloud). The new Draconian, however, is no more about simply jingling on the strings of one’s soul. Instead, the proverbial soul harp is crushed upon, mangled, twisted and tossed away. The heaviness is amplified many a times, riffs pounding in, strikingly, alarmingly, double lass lunging forward in predatory voracious fashion (Seasons Apart, the end of Earthbound).

Building atmospheres, or enjoying their newfound deathy attack, Draconian remain excellent songsmiths. Their songwriting skills will keep you captivated, either with subtly differing repeating parts, background synths which give a cathedral towering feeling (Seasons Apart), or prominent non-stop, but well placed, guitar weaves (as at the end of Not Breathing). Most importantly, the band managed to perfectly meld their novel aggressiveness and shiver sending funeral tunefulness (Earthbound), neither part being subservient to another.

The band’s female vocalist Lisa Johansson may not be the most operatic or powerful vocalist in the genre, but, man, she is angelic and soothing, a perfect compliment to the heartfelt and desperate growl of Anders Jacobsson, who continues to remain very legible and well enunciated, a must for the band which places so much importance on the lyrics. Lisa can at times struggle against the heavy backdrop (When I Wake), but her role is prominently announced when she leads off on the opening track. Bloodflower, for example, manages to find a great melodic hook to go with Lisa’s part. Multiple duets are album’s shining moments, when ominous and violent moods merge with conciliation and relief. Draconian heavy music in the end always manages to leave room for hope, allowing an individual to find internal triumph through suffering.

Piano/cello interludes, narrations, tragic melodicism (The Empty Stare), Draconian don’t let up and don’t dummy down. Their flair for the dramatic always seems genuine and real – and that is the biggest complement I can pay.

Killing Songs :
I am thoroughly enjoying the entire album
Alex quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Draconian that we have reviewed:
Draconian - Sovran reviewed by Alex and quoted 92 / 100
Draconian - A Rose for the Apocalypse reviewed by Alex and quoted 86 / 100
Draconian - The Burning Halo reviewed by Adam and quoted 84 / 100
Draconian - Arcane Rain Fell reviewed by Alex and quoted 93 / 100
Draconian - Where Lovers Mourn reviewed by Jack and quoted 90 / 100
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