Epic goth metal with some heavy '70s progressive elements (Rick Wakeman-style keyboards, occasional interludes of softer, folk-like melodies, some spoken word passages that sound like the Moody Blues played at 16 rpm -- that sort of thing), the debut album by Sweden's Draconian is much better than many similar albums in this style. The seven-person band has a strong sense of both pacing and dynamics, which means that these eight lengthy tracks never bog down in repetitive riffing; the nearly 13-minute opener, "The Cry of Silence," manages to hold the listener's attention throughout, thanks to smartly deployed shifts in arrangement and tempo. Female singer Lisa Johannson is a perfect complement to her male counterpart, Anders Jacobsson, her warm mezzo-soprano tone adding a more interesting tonal shade than the usual faceless semi-operatic squealer who populates these bands. (Check out her glorious, soaring interludes on "Silent Winter" in particular.) Happily, Jacobsson's booming, dramatic voice only rarely delves into the Cookie Monster clichés of Scandinavian metal, making him a better than average singer for the style as well, and the band as a whole does an excellent job of varying its attack.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason