Turning Season Within
posted on 3/2008 By:
In the short time I’ve spent with Draconian and their new album, they’ve very quickly won me over. Turning Season Within is nothing less than a sterling example of expertly-written death/doom from this Swedish band. For those not normally into the genre, let me assure you this album is far from being an all-out mourn-fest. Rather it’s a highly dynamic release which pays as much attention to heaviness and groove as it does on creating an atmosphere of sadness and desolation. Everything on this release from the production to the songwriting is top-notch, and is surely one of the doom highlights of 2008 thus far.
The first thing to strike me about Turning Season Within is how huge it sounds, with the drums and guitars in particular achieving the perfect balance between clarity and crunch. The treatment of the vocals and synths is just as impressive - every element here sounds great. I’m sure nobody was expecting anything less from the production so with that out of the way, what about the songs? Put simply, they’re excellent, every single one. These tracks are very consistent, and the gap between my favorite and least favorite song is about as big as a fly’s brain.
I’m pleasantly surprised by the catchiness and general accessibility of Turning Season Within. Songs like “When I Wake” and “Not Breathing” have me bopping along quite a bit, such is their emphasis on groove and hook-laden riffs. The deathly vocals of Anders Jacobsson are perfectly suited to the heavier parts of songs, and yet whenever the sweet voice of Lisa Johansson pops up it never seems out of place, despite the massive contrast. As much as I love the tightly-knit shorter numbers on this album, it’s the longer tracks that stand out, in particular “Earthbound” and the brilliant “Morphine Cloud”. The former is the archetypal death/doom song, dripping with sorrow and conjuring a depressing air of inevitability. The vocal intensity, particularly from Jacobsson, is outstanding. “Morphine…” meanwhile has a chilling funereal intro before launching into a mournful, epic procession with Johansson’s vocals taking the spotlight. It’s the slowest, most diverse and emotionally powerful song on the album. Great stuff all round.
Draconian have further cemented their place in the elite of doom metal bands with Turning Season Within. While the band doesn’t stray too far from the recipe it sets out early on, it’s such a potent and delicious one that I’m not complaining. The production, musicianship and song craft are all of a very high standard and a joy to behold. Despite the feelings of loss and sadness coursing through these songs, the music often has a desperate, invigorating energy to it. Draconian achieve a terrific balance between beauty and ferocity, and have delivered a highly accomplished release that has quickly become one of my favorites of the year so far.
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