A Rose for the Apocalypse (Napalm)
By Mike Delano
Mixing death metal growls with melodic female vocals is always bound to walk dangerously close to the edge of disaster, given the extreme and jarring mood shift that comes with switching from one to the other, back and forth, during the course of the song. When that approach is handled with as much as skill as Draconian manage on A Rose for the Apocalypse, however, such concerns fade quickly into the ether. The veteran Swedish band’s single-minded focus on creating a vast, all-encompassing feeling of despair (“End of the Rope,” “Dead World Assembly,” “Wall of Sighs,” you get the picture) means that they’ll use anything at their disposal over the course of their lengthy compositions. Mournful violin and chilling piano interludes are tucked amongst the dirgy, doomy riffs that underscore Anders Jacobsson and Lisa Johansson’s vocals. The album is careful never to cross the line into the subgenre of crushingly depressing (and often crushingly boring) doom, though, maintaining a sense of melody throughout Apocalypse that makes it very easy to return to on future rainy days.