I maintain that one of - if not the best ways to hear doom metal is with a female vocalist. In this case, Swedish doom purveyors Draconian, whose melodic death metal sound has gradually become more black and doomy over the years, have released their latest album Sovran with newcomer Heike Langhans. And what a sound she lends to the gothic mood. Her look is even a good match, looking in promo photos like a dark earth mother/goddess with the rest of the crew surrounding her like musical priests. It's something.
Of course, the music has to serve the overall sound and it does that very well. Not all of the tunes on Sovran are doom dirges; tunes like No Lonelier Star and Stellar Tombs start out more like something from the band's melodeath origins before mellowing out to their morose conclusions. But, as it turns out, slower tunes like Pale Tortured Blue compliment Langhans' ethereal voice, who comes off like a dark reflection of Enya through a looking glass world of melancholia - and an effective counterpoint to Anders Jakobsson's gutteral vocals. Since mood accounts for most of the meat in this genre, it's clear Draconian has that covered just fine. the sludge of so much low end is often too muddy to appreciate for the music's nuances, but not so with this band, so kudos to the producers.
The Bottom Line: Gothic doom metal has its place, and few do it better than those crafty Swedes. Draconian's latest album mixes the vocal stylings of two very different singers to great effect with Anders Jakobsson's gutteral menace balanced by Heike Langhans' ethereal beauty. Nice work.
- Genghis really digs the doom metal from time to time...