Draconicon – Pestilence


Draconicon return with more refined power metal and complex arrangements in their second album Pestilence.

Hailing from Italy, Draconicon are relatively new to the power metal scene but made a sizable impact with their debut album  Dark Side of Magic in 2021.  Following that release, the band played festivals and shows across Europe with multiple well-known band including the likes of Rhapsody of Fire and Wind Rose.  Pestilence will be the first album for the band after joining Inner Wound Recordings and similar to their debut, the music was mixed and mastered by Marco Mastrobuono (Fleshgod Apocalypse), this time joined by Alessandro Mammola. Francesco Ferrini from Fleshgod  Apocalypse wrote all the orchestral arrangements for the album adding an additional layer of complexity and chaos.  While the first album told the story of the awakening of an ancient evil awakening to rule the world while this time the band chose perhaps similar subject matter but more straightforward, focusing on challenges to mental health with main themes of mental instability, pain, and sadness.

Orchestral arrangements make an early appearance on Pestilence, starting with the opening of the first track, “Twisted Reflection”.  Following the intro, the song heads straight into power metal territory, but retains a strong keyboard presence. Arkanfel’s vocals come through clearly in the mix and the rhythm section , particularly the drum work which is not credited, works really well.  The song itself is fast and gallops along and manages to incorporate a keyboard solo but no guitar solo.

“Heresy” is one of the videos and tracks where the band bring in a wider variety of vocalists and styles and the overall tone is a bit more sinister and dark in the early verse sections punctuated by some pained, screamed vocals before a catchy, fast bridge/chorus that is brighter.  Here we do get an extended guitar solo that works well within the song.  Through most of the track the rhythm section rumbles along like a freight train.  “Thorns” being the another video track released prior to the album has an intricate opening riff and the keyboards don’t become more prominent until later in the track.  Here the use of choir-like backing vocals works really well  and Arkanfel’s vocals keep their clear tone with just a touch of raspiness coming in from time to time and his range and power on full display.

“Pestilence” is the first track on the album opening with a strong guitar lead before shifting to a keyboard dominated sound bringing the orchestral elements into the forefront.  The song takes some twists and turns and becomes darker and slower making way for the keyboards and violin to be showcased.

“Theater of Sorrow” takes things in a different turn for me with one of the riffs sounding like it came from “Little Green Men” (Project 86) which is pretty far from power metal, but that’s just what my ear hears.  Along those lines, however, the track has a feel to it as if it could be part of a concept album.  There are the orchestral and choir-like elements in the opening and the smooth, quieter vocals in the beginning that eventually shift to more forceful and a soaring chorus that leads into some heavier and faster parts eventually getting back to the music of the opening.

“Drowned” makes full use of the orchestration and choir vocals in its opening and the song has Arkanfel keeping a smooth and soaring delivery in a slower pace that previous tracks with keyboards, orchestration and violin making contributions.  Just when one settles into a calmer, more serene track, pained, screamed vocals come in and the pace picks up while the keyboards and violin remain critical to the track. In a similar way, piano and violin take the lead in “Under the Weight of Your Sins” which musically sounds as if this will be the ballad on the album with Arkanfel’s vocals in all their glory. I was actually waiting for the guitars and drums but the song stayed the path with just piano and violin providing an interesting break in the album.

With the name “Faust”, one might expect a good bit of chaos and the song does not disappoint in that regard, with multiple vocal styles contributing.  In some ways, the track is as if the band pulled out all stops brining in violin and keyboards and orchestration as well as some intricate guitar riffs and solos.

Draconicon have taken their sound to a new level and moving away from the concept album of their debut “The Dark Side of Magic” will serve them well as there are individual tracks that easily stand on their own for listeners to grasp onto.  From the brightness of “Heresy” and its catchy chorus to the theatrical and orchestral parts of “Theater of Sorrow” to bringing in all the elements into the closer “Faust”, the strong performances and high quality production make Pestilence and impressive follow up album.

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackon


  1. Twisted Reflection
  2. Heresy
  3. Thorns
  4. Pestilence
  5. Theater of Sorrow
  6. Circus of the Dead
  7. Drowned
  8. Slumber Paralysis
  9. Under the Weight of Your Sins
  10. Faust

Band Members
Alex Moth – Guitar, backing vocals
Grym Hünter – Guitar, backing vocals
Simon Borgen – Violin, backing vocals
Philip Skrim – Bass
Arkanfel – Vocals

Release Date November 17th. 2023

Record Label: Inner Wound Recordings

Video for Heresy

Video for Thorns

Draconicon online
Website: https://www.draconicon.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/draconicon.official
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/draconicon.official
Spotify: https://bit.ly/DraconiconSpotify
Apple Music: https://apple.co/3q4JAtx
Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@draconicon.official

Inner Wound Recordings online
Website: http://www.innerwound.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/innerwoundrecordings

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