Arcane Rain Fell

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Even more so than their 2004 debut, Where Lovers Mourn, Draconian's second album drinks long, greedy draughts from the well of '70s progressive rock. Arcane Rain Fell starts with a lengthy sound-effects intro that eventually lumbers into the epic "A Scenery of Loss," which sounds like the doom-laden marriage of Black Sabbath and Yes at their respective peaks of overblown bombast. And yet, because overblown bombast is in fact not necessarily a bad thing in the world of Scandinavian metal, it somehow works. One major change between albums is that female singer Lisa Johannson has largely dropped the operatic vocals that are the benchmark of female goth metal singers, in favor of a much more direct and effective "clean" vocal style. Unfortunately, her male counterpart, Anders Jacobsson, has backslid in the opposite direction, lapsing into the same dopey "death growl" voice as every other male Scandinavian metal singer far more than he had on Where Lovers Mourn. The songs are even lengthier, and the tempos a bit more plodding, which means that Arcane Rain Fell doesn't have as many of the dynamic shifts that enlivened the debut, although the comparatively speedy "The Abhorrent Rays" (quite possibly the most ironic fun-in-the-sun song of all time) makes a nice changeup about halfway through this long, intense album. Less distinctive than their debut, Arcane Rain Fell purifies one side of Draconian's sound, but at the expense of some of the other things that originally made them interesting.

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