Drakonis
Blessed By Embers

Within a matter of days, I received 2 really good symphonic black metal albums from the UK, and promptly purchased both. First, Argesk’s heavily Hecate Enthroned influenced  Realm of Eternal Night, and this, the conceptual debut album (they do have 3 EPs under their belt, which I have not heard yet) from Northern Ireland’s Drakonis.

With a few former and current members of Ireland’s long running, premier folk/pagan metal act Waylander, it’s not a surprise that Blessed By Embers delivers is such a confident, competent debut that tells the story of the rise and fall of a enigmatic cult leader and his followers. It’s well played, well produced (by guitarist Saul McMichael) and delivers a top notch symphonic black metal affair for fans of Cradle of Filth, Hecate Enthroned and Dimmu Borgir.

Opener “Threnody” sets the tone for what the rest of the album delivers. A dramatic bombastic track full of tremolo picked riffs, laced with synths and a subtle female vocal lines from keyboardist Serah Decay aka Sarah Dickey (though I wish she was used more on the rest of the album). It’s not quite as full on overbearing, sweeping and theatrical as some of their peers, with the keyboards being far more understated, but they are used to good effect on all the songs. Vocalist Steve Reynolds ( Altus, Creation’s Tears, ex-Fallen, ex-Waylander among others) has a standard, hawkish black metal rasp, and there are no clean croons or ‘atmospheric’ vocals.

The rest of the album’s other 7 tracks, fall in line with the opener. With the exception of closing ballad “An Anthem of Ashes” which concludes the story with a more emotional, somber timbre. There’s the cool double bass stomp in “Fear of the Wretched”, the more majestic menace of the standout title track, fierce gallop of “Of Dusk and Of Pyre” and cool mid paced militant march of “As They Rot”.

I’m really enjoying this and Argesk’s Realm of Eternal Night, but Argesk edges Drakonis out barely. Still, its great to see this style and quality of music coming out  of the UK again.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 23rd, 2020

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