Draconicon use power metal to tell the story of the awakening of an ancient evil in their debut album Dark Side of Magic.
Draconicon is pure European power metal from Italy, influence by the sounds of bands like Kamelot, Saboton, Gloryhammer and others. The story behind the debut album is about a Dark Force awakening to rule the world. A hunger for power led mortals to summon the dark Order Draconis. The dragon pictured on the cover art is a metaphorical representation of the power and evil that has taken control over everything. The album was mixed and mastered by Marco Mastrobuono who has done a great job ensuring all instruments and vocals are clear in the mix. For the album are, the band chose a veteran of the genre, bringing in Dan Godsworthy (Alestorm, Gloryhammer).
After a short intro in “Principium Tenebris”, the band launches straight into “Fiery Rage” leading off with some great guitar leads before settling into a fast galloping rhythm led by the drums of Manuel D. Asendent. Arkanfel’s vocals are a perfect match for the genre, smooth and powerful without sounding strained throughout his impressive range. In some sense, the song reminds me a bit of Dragon Force except the song is not just a vehicle for guitar solos.
“Dark Side of Magic” opens up with a bit more of a symphonic feel before settling into a bit of a mid-tempo driving groove. Meanwhile, “Blackfire” has an insanely fast riff at the beginning that really sets the stage for the rest of the song, which slows slightly and briefly before picking back up, again, Manuel D. Ascendent’s drums carrying things along. The complex riff in the song returns and is highlighted by some keyboard accents and the song itself when it marches along has a bit of that symphonic feel to it with its epic group vocal choruses and does remind me a bit in terms of feel of something like Trans Siberian Orchestra. The guitar solos in the song fit really well and are extended a bit, allowing the listener more time to appreciate them.
“Draconis Theocracy” opens with a drum riff that sounds to me very much like that in the beginning of “Hot for Teacher” which obviously wouldn’t be appropriate here, but when you add in the guitars it works very well and has a much darker feel. From there the album continues much in a similar vein and oddly for the genre, seems to lack the requisite guitar solos one would expect. “Dusk of a Hero” has the band taking a much softer tone and approach for the song and at times really showcasing the violin and guitar work and the interplay between the two. Arkanfel’s vocals are incredibly smooth and strong in the song as well, which adds to the different feel.
“Necropotence” has a mournful piano opening that gets some strings and atmospheric keyboards as backing before the fast guitars come in and take the song in a very different direction than expected. “A Song of Darkness and Light” really changes things up with a guitar opening that sounds straight out of folk metal in terms of sound and rhythm. I instantly think of a band like Wind Rose. The verse sections of the song are somewhat different but that familiar rhythm and riff return for the bridge and chorus sections. Bringing in female vocals from Damna was an inspired choice for the song as her sultry, deep tone works well with Arkanfel’s and her higher register vocals carry a sense of power. “Symphony of Madnes” closes out the album and provides what is one of the better tracks on the album and one that again features some great guitar solos, the kind that you’d expect from an album in this genre.
Draconicon have taken on a tough task for a band launching a debut album in that those telling an epic story tend to be tough to lead with as new listeners look for individual tracks that stand out. My feeling is that the songs here may be a bit too intertwined to pick out one track to listen to or recommend as they need to context of the whole story. Performances are strong and the band has great talent and created an impressive debut.
- Principium Tenebris
- Fiery Rage
- Dark Side of Magic
- Draconis Theocracy
- Edge of Power
- Monsters’ Breakaway
- Dusk of a Hero
- A Song of Darkness and Light (feat. Damna)
- Symphony of Madness
Alex Moth – Guitar, vocals
Grym Hünter – Guitar, vocals
Simon Borgen – Violin, vocals
Manuel D.Ascendent – Drums
Arkanfel – Vocals
Release Date: 22nd. October 2021
Record Label: Beyond the Storm Productions
Video for ‘Monsters Breakaway
Video for ‘Edge of Power’
Video for ‘Dark Side of Magic’
Lyric video for ‘Fiery Rage’