Throne of the Depths

I have a list of upcoming releases that I keep, constantly adding the names of albums of interest as I learn about them. Sometimes I add a band name followed by a question mark in anticipation of an as yet unannounced new album. Drautran is such a band, having been on my list for six years awaiting a follow up release.

Early this year I learned of the impending release of Throne of the Depths, and all I can say is long overdue. A five-album contract had been agreed upon with Lupus Lounge as well as a re-release of the demo. . I thought this album might end up being a sleeper hit for me this year based upon nothing more than a feeling of unrealized potential from back in 2000, when Unter dem Banner der Nordwinde was unleashed. Fast epic pagan black metal from Germany, land of Nagelfar and many fine pagan bands. One song in particular stood out from the demo, “Framentanz”, as an example of their quality songwriting. Anyone can blast full throttle, the real test is the interludes and the melodies. “Framentanz” is a mid paced folk interlude that stood up well at the time against the backdrop of pagan folk bands the likes of which Germany is full of.

When it comes time to play black metal these heathens do as well or better than most, aside from the rather weak vocals. On Throne of the Depths the vocals have improved markedly though they are still the weak link. “Styrt Ned I Mælstraumen” highlights my problem with the vocals, I really want to hear the details of the music and the vocals interfere. I would like to hear longer songs with less vocals, or maybe this deficiency could be solved in the mixing by bringing the vocals up a bit to make them more powerful. This song also features nicely done clean vocals that deserve to be presented with more majesty and atypical shrieks that when concentrated upon are rather good, which reinforces that the problem lay in the studio, not in the throats.

Basically if you are a fan of bands like Abigor and Nagelfar you can’t go wrong with this band though if you think fast melodic only applies to Emperor your narrow-mindedness will result in disappointment. “Dusk Of The Fimbulwinter” has a lengthy spoken passage to somber doomish music and “Sævar Niðr” has guest female vocals without words, and musically harkens back to the previously mentioned “Framentanz” Both “Dusk Of The Fimbulwinter” and “Sævar Niðr” are effectively pulled off and add rather than subtract from the album. The keyboards are significant and vital to the sound but do not threaten to overpower, which is a treat because I tire of symphonic bands that play synths backed up by guitar and drums. “Gebaren Des Sterbens In Klanglosen Sphären” is my favorite song in terms of the keyboards and the swirling guitars. Harsh and melodic with a folkish take on symphonic, and I love the clean vocals here, more like this in the future please. The more I listen to this disc the more details I pull out and the more impressed I become. Drautran is one band that would benefit greatly from a cleaner production.

German black metal has a new star, and another quality band dealing with Teutonic/ Norse mythology and religion in the true spirit of the culture, free of racism and fascism. Drautran has both exceeded my expectations and raised the standard for themselves for next time.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
December 8th, 2007


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