Originally written by Erik Thomas
Last year, Sweden’s Draconian tugged lightly on my heart strings with their take on gothic/doom metal. It didn’t fully dance with romantic Goth leanings, but instead draped the sound in a more morose doom death sound that only briefly touched on Goth metal with the presence of a female vocalist.
Based on the fall of Lucifer from heaven, Arcane Rain Fell, aesthetically pretty much follows suite from their last effort, with lengthy compositions that stagger with a depressive weight but have a shard of light racing them on in the form of the angelic Lisa Johansson who offsets Anders Jacobsson’s deep growls (who has less blackened screams than before). But where the prior album was a little more Goth and Black metal, appealing to fans of Tristania and Sins of Thy Beloved, etc, Arcane Rain Fellis more pure doom based and is far more comparable to the likes ofSwallow the Sun, Thalarion, or Officium Triste in the delivery of rending riffs and sadness drenched structures.
This album actually forsakes some of the upbeat Goth tinkling heard onWhere Lovers Mourn (“The Amaranth”, “Silent Winter”) and instead goes for the wrists with a withering pace throughout and a forlorn atmosphere that’s tangibly depressing, not superficially so. Also, Ms. Johansson seems slightly more absent than before, removing some of the overblown artful ‘Gothness’ of the prior album. Now even the short songs are melancholy discourses of unrelenting sadness as “Daylight Misery”, “Everlasting Scar” and even “Abhorrent Rays”, despite its faster pace are far more doom than Goth. But the draw of the album are the long, sullen and simply rending lengthier tracks; “A Scenery of Loss” and the utterly emotionally draining “The Apostasy Canticle” (a nod to Morgion?) which swathe the listener in some of the most depressively melodic tones since Swallow the Sun’s debut album.
Album highlight, 15-minute closer “Death, Come Near Me” seals the fate of the album as a far more than competent entry into the genre. Its stupendous main riff forces your head to bow in involuntary, shoulder racking pangs of misery, and when Ms. Johansson resurfaces, it literally becomes emotionally crippling and your eyes may indeed well up. OK I admit it, mine did, but it’s testament to the gravity of the riff; truly moving stuff.
As well as the upped doom elements and improved song wring, the production has been fleshed out and has that lush, enveloping tone that the fins (Rapture, Shape of Despair, Swallow the Sun, Insomnium) have perfected, raising the album to be more on par with those bands. Arcane Rain Fell is a damn fine slab of melancholy brilliance that elevates them to the upper echelon of the genre.
Now you must excuse me, I erm…. have something in my eye.