Sunday, February 25, 2024

Draken write the Book of Black

For their follow-up to 2021’s eponymous debut, the Oslo-based prog/rock trio, Draken (Hallvard Gaardløs – Bass and lead vocals, Even Helte Hermansen – Guitar and background vocals, Andre Drage Haraldsen – Drums) stay with the doomy/rock/prog blend they served up so well. 

(Quick tip: add ‘band’ to Draken when you search, unless you are a fan of aviation too…Saab 35 anyone?)

The new album, Book Of Black, is a step up I feel as the addition of keys on ‘House of Horrors’ courtesy of Vegard Lien Bjerkan add to the atmosphere and, on ‘Symbiote’ Anita Kaasbøl on guest vocals brings an extra dimension.

The band also seem to have composed their first love song… although with a title like ‘Bastards’ I could be wrong! It is a frantic, Motörhead style three-minute rocking romp…with a neat pedalled guitar solo. ‘We Deserve To Suffer’ moves in a Sabbath direction but retaining the Draken sound and fitting in some nice harmony guitar phrases as the vocals move from metal to doom and back. There’s also a great bridge and guitar solo that has the right dissonance to lift this great song even higher. ‘Relentless Sinners’ cleverly combines a blues standard riff (or Zeppelin, if you haven’t heard the original) behind the Draken style of heavy rock. The closing track, ‘Bloodguilt’ probably sums them up best as the Sabbath hints utilise the heavy, slow and dripping-with-menace tone of that epic, eponymous song but incredibly, still stay Draken. 

While there isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking, this is a strong album that mixes vocal styles and influences and is well balanced and should appeal to most heavy rock aficionados.

Book of Black is out on 13th January via Majestic Mountain Records.

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
North East born, South West domiciled music lover - mainly heavy rock & blues but not averse to other genres. I'm fortunate to have retired early & I can now take full advantage of the 40+ years I have spent collecting, listening, watching & playing (badly) & have enjoyed researching how blues in particular has shaped the music we know & love today. Now if only I could get my Strat & Musicman to sound in reality how they do in my head!

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For their follow-up to 2021’s eponymous debut, the Oslo-based prog/rock trio, Draken (Hallvard Gaardløs - Bass and lead vocals, Even Helte Hermansen - Guitar and background vocals, Andre Drage Haraldsen - Drums) stay with the doomy/rock/prog blend they served up so well.  (Quick tip: add...Draken write the Book of Black