Draconian - The Burning Halo review
|Album:||The Burning Halo|
|Release date:||September 2006|
01. She Dies
02. Through Infectious Waters (A Sickness Elegy)
03. The Dying
04. Serenade Of Sorrow
05. The Morningstar
06. The Gothic Embrace
07. On Sunday They Will Kill The World [Ekseption cover]
08. Forever My Queen [Pentagram cover]
I've heard a lot of negative notes about Draconian, and yet my love for them grows with each release. Their music is so charming and honest that I find it incomprehensible how anyone can dislike them. In any case, I think everyone will agree that "The Burning Halo" is an interesting release. It can't be considered a new full length album, it can't be considered a re-issue, it can't be considered an album of covers, yet, in the end, it's all of them together. You've got to appreciate the work they put on to deliver this delicious gift to their fans.
"Arcane Rain Fell" is still very fresh in my ears, after all it came out only a year ago, so when I learned Draconian were going to release some new material I wasn't expecting a big departure from the sound of that album; "The Burning Halo" doesn't surprise in that sense, which is good. The first 3 songs are the new ones, and they are definitely in the same slow Gothic influenced Doom Metal vein that's so characteristic of this band.
"She Dies" starts with a discreet atmospheric riff, and develops beautifully into a duet between the two vocalists; gloomy keyboards always present, as usual. There's a mid section with spoken vocals that I found particularly moving. "Through Infectious Waters (A Sickness Elegy)" is a bit darker, almost intimidating in the beginning. Depends on riffs for a good part, though it's not particularly heavy and actually ends with a sad piano part. "The Dying" is very cold and varied, I liked the faster parts more, but it's worth listening to completely.
These 3 tracks alone would make this a valuable release, but in come the re-recorded "Serenade Of Sorrow," "The Morningstar," and "The Gothic Embrace," all from Draconian's 1999 demo, "The Closed Eyes Of Paradise." I don't know what the real motivation for this re-arrangement was, I'm guessing the quality of the demo wasn't that good, or the band wasn't fully satisfied with the final editing, but what I hear now are 3 very impressive compositions that summarize perfectly everything this band knows how to deliver. The melodies are breathtaking, the atmosphere is very melancholic and the songs are, overall, very compelling.
The covers show different sides of Draconian that you normally don't hear on their songs. I think both work really well, in particular "On Sunday They Will Kill The World," originally from Ekseption. The structure is simple and catchy, but surprisingly slow for a 4 minute song. "Forever My Queen," a Pentagram cover, has a raw and traditional edge to it, even in the vocals, so it may seem a bit out of place, but try to judge it separately.
I thank Draconian for this effort, it is perfect for the more impatient fans and it will give them something more to hold on to while they wait for a new album. This work actually ends up sounding quite solid, and made me realize that Draconian have always had a very mature and personal approach towards songwriting which is more than enough to compensate for any possible critics one can make about their originality. Believe it or not, this is one of the best releases of the year.
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