Rating:
8.4
Draconian - Turning Season Within
29 February 2008


01. Seasons Apart
02. When I Wake
03. Earthbound
04. Not Breathing
05. The Failure Epiphany
06. Morphine Cloud
07. Bloodflower
08. The Empty Stare
09. No Greater Sorrow [Korean bonus]
10. September Ashes


Draconian are among a myriad of bands that I discovered when I arrived at Metal Storm a couple of years ago. After seeing Arcane Rain Fell in the Top 100 albums page, I instantly became intrigued and decided to listen to it. I listened to it for the first time, and man, was I blown away! I immediately proceeded to download their entire discography; I was far from disappointed. Naturally, my expectations for the forthcoming Turning Seasons Within were very high, but the question at hand is this: Will Draconian be able to retain their consistency, or will they finally succumb to releasing an "average" album? Let's find out…

The first word that comes to my mind to describe Turning Seasons Within is "accessible." Indeed, I was quite taken aback when I listened to it for the first time; crystal-clear production, fast-paced (relatively, of course), beautiful, catchy guitar melodies reminiscent of Swallow The Sun, and the list goes on. Undoubtedly, this is a more modern-sounding Draconian. Regardless of its modern-esqe appeal, Turning Seasons Within still retains all the gloomy atmosphere that has always been one of their highlights. Hell, the atmosphere is so heavy on this one that you can cut through it with a knife! Yes, it has shed much of its Doom-ish sound so prevalent in their earlier releases, but take nothing away from Turning Seasons Within; there are a LOT of reasons to enjoy this album. The songs are beautifully composed with crafty guitar work, with "Seasons Apart," "When I Wake," "Earthbound," and "Not Breathing," all capable of releasing those decadent feelings that you try so much to hide. Lisa Johansson's beautiful voice and Anders Jacobsson's despicable growls are in perfect synchronization, with the former getting a lot more "airtime" this time around. She does a wonderful job, and strengthens each and every song in the process. My favourite song on the album is "Bloodflowers"; addictively catchy, melodic and any other pleasant adjective you can think of.

Likewise, Turning Seasons Within is a double-edged sword. Playing to their strength has its advantages and disadvantages. It is perfectly reasonable for someone to be bored of this album, simply because this kind of music has been done countless times, and nothing groundbreaking is in offer here. I have that nagging feeling that this album bears too many similarities to Swallow The Sun's Hope and, to a lesser extent, New Moon, so it does not score that high in terms of originality. One of the tracks in particular, "The Failure Epiphany," really didn't have that much impact on me; it's a sort of a "misfit" in the album. As illustrated, Turning Seasons Within is far from perfection…

Draconian are a brave band, to say the least. Their newfound path is likely to raise the ire of older fans, who'll be quick to label them as "sellouts." Don't let this kind of negative stereotyping get the better of your judgement. This is a very good album in its own merit. I recommend this one to anyone who isn't influenced by the word "sellout."

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 10


Band profile: Draconian
Album: Turning Season Within


 


written by MechanisT | 25.12.2010


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Glabrezu - 25.12.2010 at 01:58  
Good album but it's their "worst" for my taste.. Btw songs like Season Apart and Not Breathing are so sweet and romantic; I agree with this review, even though I can't see that similarity with Swallow the Sun: their last works are more Katatonia-oriented.
MechanisT - 25.12.2010 at 02:02  
Written by Glabrezu on 25.12.2010 at 01:58

Good album but it's their "worst" for my taste.. Btw songs like Season Apart and Not Breathing are so sweet and romantic; I agree with this review, even though I can't see that similarity with Swallow the Sun: their last works are more Katatonia-oriented.


Nice of you for bringing it up Katatonia, I thought something was amiss...
Anyways, listen to "The Failure Epiphany", the guitar parts in the middle, or "Bloodflowers", they sound quite similar to Swallow The Sun, at least to me...
dismaleuphony - 25.12.2010 at 04:30  
Well nice to see a review for this album and that you also like "Bloodflowers" quite a lot. But in many ways we come from different perspectives. I'm not sure why the insistence in using "sellout" to describe their minor shift in sound here, because they didn't market this album to a commercial audience more so than past albums. In fact I'd say the band became mildly less popular since they didn't try to repeat Arcane Rain Fell, which a decent majority of Draconian fans seem to like most.

Talking about Swallow The Sun isn't really a good description of their influences to me either, and I do agree with the opening post here from Glabrezu: there is a Katatonia influence here. It's not necessarily derivative, but instead echoing Katatonia's ideas from a decade earlier. It's also a bit weird to talk about New Moon from Swallow The Sun in this review, as it was released well after this album was.

Personally I'm glad they moved back into a more gothic sound, and honestly this is the only album I enjoy from start to finish. (I still find "Death, Come Near Me" horribly boring and miss songs like "Silent Winter", which I think can explain my musical perspective on the band). Anyway, Turning Season Within definitely achieves the atmosphere you are talking about in the review - it's something I picked up on immediately. Can't wait to see them in 2011 and hear a likely new album
annodomini - 25.12.2010 at 11:52  
Well once again we have a review on TSW, lets hope this one won't be deleted

Mostly I agree with dismaleuphony, cause if we dispose the fact that this album is not a very doomish, TUrning Season Within becomes a very accessible and enjoyable album. A new approach in sound and catchy but not banal melodies, everything fits perfect, and as many of you said this is a very very dark album, with a gloomy atmosphere, a perfect autumn-winter album. And personally I don't care how many fans of just simple listeners judge this album, I found that one of the best in 2008.

And, yes, can't wait for the new album too
MechanisT - 25.12.2010 at 12:03  
Written by dismaleuphony on 25.12.2010 at 04:30

Well nice to see a review for this album and that you also like "Bloodflowers" quite a lot. But in many ways we come from different perspectives. I'm not sure why the insistence in using "sellout" to describe their minor shift in sound here, because they didn't market this album to a commercial audience more so than past albums. In fact I'd say the band became mildly less popular since they didn't try to repeat Arcane Rain Fell, which a decent majority of Draconian fans seem to like most.

Talking about Swallow The Sun isn't really a good description of their influences to me either, and I do agree with the opening post here from Glabrezu: there is a Katatonia influence here. It's not necessarily derivative, but instead echoing Katatonia's ideas from a decade earlier. It's also a bit weird to talk about New Moon from Swallow The Sun in this review, as it was released well after this album was.

Personally I'm glad they moved back into a more gothic sound, and honestly this is the only album I enjoy from start to finish. (I still find "Death, Come Near Me" horribly boring and miss songs like "Silent Winter", which I think can explain my musical perspective on the band). Anyway, Turning Season Within definitely achieves the atmosphere you are talking about in the review - it's something I picked up on immediately. Can't wait to see them in 2011 and hear a likely new album


Yeah, I guess it was weird of me to mention about "New Moon" here, and about "Swallow The Sun", it was more of a personal reference, I didn't really want to imply that "Swallow The Sun" was an influence to their sound.
ravendeath - 25.12.2010 at 14:09  
One of the best albums of the last decade... I don't find "The Failure Epiphany" like a misfit, for me, it's still a great song with a beautiful groove and catchy chorus. BTW still a good review, but I must agree with dismaleuphony on some issues. "Morphine Cloud" is for me the best song on this one!
Powerslavex - 25.12.2010 at 14:22  
9/10 Earthbound The Failure Epiphany are great songs, Morphine Cloud is a masterpiece one of my favorite songs. nice review
Earthbound - 25.12.2010 at 19:35  
It may not be Draconian's best album, but it's still a modern masterpiece. A strange chapter in ther path that's not necessarilly bad concidering it has some "catchier" tunes.
The bar is quite high with their history.

I was lucky enough to feel the Draconian-Live-Experience and... well, at this point I stop being objective. They simply rule.
Marcel Hubregtse - 26.12.2010 at 21:23  
I can understand Swallow The Sun reference, but also some other here mentioning Katatonia, but then again Swallow The Sun is immensely influenced by Katatonia, so both references aren't weird at all.
Marcel Hubregtse - 26.12.2010 at 21:24  
Written by Earthbound on 25.12.2010 at 19:35

I was lucky enough to feel the Draconian-Live-Experience and... well, at this point I stop being objective. They simply rule.


I was UNLUCKY enough to endure them live. On album Draconian are already hell to sit through fro me but live they are extremely bad, especially the powerless female vocals.
dismaleuphony - 26.12.2010 at 21:56  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 26.12.2010 at 21:23

I can understand Swallow The Sun reference, but also some other here mentioning Katatonia, but then again Swallow The Sun is immensely influenced by Katatonia, so both references aren't weird at all.

I think my reason for disliking the Swallow The Sun reference is related to the review making it seem like Draconian has become derivative of Swallow The Sun on this release, when in fact they are both harking back to Katatonia's sound, so StS and Draconian could appeal to a similar audience, but aren't copying each other here.

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 26.12.2010 at 21:24

Written by Earthbound on 25.12.2010 at 19:35

I was lucky enough to feel the Draconian-Live-Experience and... well, at this point I stop being objective. They simply rule.


I was UNLUCKY enough to endure them live. On album Draconian are already hell to sit through fro me but live they are extremely bad, especially the powerless female vocals.

And I'm really curious about this! I remember not just you Marcel talking about the bad Draconian performance that night, but my watching of a youtube clip of "Seasons Apart" from their last MFVF performance sounded great. So, maybe they are a hit or miss band live. I'd have to see for myself, so, since they are playing in 2011's MFVF again, well
Earthbound - 31.12.2010 at 14:53  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 26.12.2010 at 21:24

Written by Earthbound on 25.12.2010 at 19:35

I was lucky enough to feel the Draconian-Live-Experience and... well, at this point I stop being objective. They simply rule.


I was UNLUCKY enough to endure them live. On album Draconian are already hell to sit through fro me but live they are extremely bad, especially the powerless female vocals.


I suppose that if the albums are hell to sit through for you then it's normal that you didn't like them live, I mean that it's a matter of musical taste.
I've seen footage from other shows on youtube and their performance isn't always awesome but fortunately in Athens last year they were incredible
Marcel Hubregtse - 31.12.2010 at 14:56  
Written by Earthbound on 31.12.2010 at 14:53

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 26.12.2010 at 21:24

Written by Earthbound on 25.12.2010 at 19:35

I was lucky enough to feel the Draconian-Live-Experience and... well, at this point I stop being objective. They simply rule.


I was UNLUCKY enough to endure them live. On album Draconian are already hell to sit through fro me but live they are extremely bad, especially the powerless female vocals.


I suppose that if the albums are hell to sit through for you then it's normal that you didn't like them live, I mean that it's a matter of musical taste.


When I saw them live I was there with a couple of HUGE Draconian fans and they also thought the band was horrible live and that the vocalist lacked the power needed.
Behdad K2 - 02.01.2011 at 11:32  
Well, again! This repetitive argument about Draconian, and here comes Marcel making fun of Draconian!

I do agree that they are not so good in live performances but please, do not forget about their lack of equipments of "being a live-band".

They are NOT a live-band. But I think the music that they produce in studio is simply the best in Gothic/Doom so far!

If Lisa Johansson doesn't sing so good in live acts, but at least she does some great singing in albums.

P.S. This argument never ends!

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