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Draconian - "A Rose for the Apocalypse" (Digipak)

Draconian - "A Rose for the Apocalypse" Digipak cover image

"A Rose for the Apocalypse" track listing:

1. The Drowning Age (7:18)
2. The Last Hour of Ancient Sunlight (5:26)
3. End of the Rope (6:34)
4. Elysian Night (7:52)
5. Deadlight (6:32)
6. Dead World Assembly (5:52)
7. A Phantom Dissonance (5:39)
8. The Quiet Storm (6:37)
9. The Death Of Hours (7:48)
10. Wall of Sighs (Bonus Track) (5:14)

Reviewed by on September 17, 2011

"[Draconian] captures the perfect union of dark beauty of pure gothic sound with the brutality of metal."

"A Rose for the Apocalypse" is the latest masterpiece of gothic metal true to Draconian's well-established sound. Like its predecessor, "Turning Season Within" (2008, Napalm Records), "A Rose…" is a mix of beautiful and haunting melodies presented in a deliberate mid-paced doom style and wrapped in a cocoon of ambient gothic haze. It is well written and executed and with top notch production handled by guitarist Johan Ericson.

The album features the band’s steady diet of both death (Anders Jacobsson on vox/keys) and symphonic vocals (Lisa Johansson). On its face, it may seem like that same old overused formula given the crowded gothic metal scene today, but they pull it off with style. “The Quiet Storm” and “Dead World Assembly” are the real standout tracks which showcase just how intriguing that contrast is between the soft melodic tranquility of Johansson’s range and the force of Jacobsson’s grunted vocals. Other notable tracks are “Deadlight” and “The Last Hour of Ancient Sunlight.”

For fans who desire more of a straight forward metal sound, this album may seem like one endless song with ten parts, if not for the pauses. However, to gothic metal fans, it represents ambient tranquility with just enough force to satisfy the metal palate.

Since the debut, "Where Lovers Mourn" (2003, Napalm Records), Sweden’s Draconian has been slowing rising to challenge other gothic metal greats spanning from one end (Epica) to the other (My Dying Bride). While "A Rose for the Apocalypse" fails to match 2005's "Arcane Rain Fell," it still captures the perfect union of dark beauty of pure gothic sound with the brutality of metal.

Highs: Beautifully written, well executed, and produced.

Lows: The gothic haze may lull some sleep.

Bottom line: Gothic haze never sounded so beautiful.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)