Sunday, January 28, 2018

Dracena-Cursed to the Night

Infernö Records

Formed in 1994 by vocalist/bassist/guitarist Mia Larsson (ex-Necrohell, ex-Pagan Rites, ex-Deathwitch), Dracena is a blackened heavy metal/thrash metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden that has two LPs, one EP, and a couple of demos to it's name. Released this past October and clocking in at just over just over 38 minutes in length, the eight-song "Cursed to the Night" is Dracena's sophomore LP as well as my first introduction to this longstanding & absolutely-legit band. The album comes three years after the release of the EP "Ravenous Bloodlust" and is the first Dracena recording to feature new drummer Jocke. In addition to exceptionally-skilled talents of Mia Larsson (she's perfectly wicked as a front-woman, bassist, and rhythm guitarist!), "Cursed to the Night" features two notable guests. The first (and certainly most important!) one is veteran guitarist Fredrik Folkare (Dead Kosmonaut, Firecracker, Firespawn, Unleashed, ex-Incardine, ex-Scudiero, ex-Necrophobic, ex-Siebenbürgen, ex-Fireborn). With a style that leans heavier on old school and classic heavy metal, Fredrik provides all of the lead guitar work on "Cursed to the Night" and man alive(!), he does a fucking fantastic job of it! The lead guitar work on this album is simply stunning and it is perfectly suited to Mia's black metal vocals. Meanwhile, Ola Malmström (vocalist of Swedish death metal band Sorcery) offers his voice on the track "The Shadow of What Once Once". It is a nice gesture that adds a little something extra to what is already a pretty solid number. And speaking of solid, "Cursed to the Night" is exactly that! More or less traditional/classic heavy metal mixed with a (much better than expected!) female black metal vocalist with style & substance, Dracena is a group that at first I didn't think that I would care for, but somehow fell hard for! One could argue that it was the old fashioned heavy metal moments that won me over. Others might say that as a longtime fan of all things female-fronted rock and heavy metal, "Cursed to the Night" was destined to show up in my play list. Whatever the case might be, "Cursed to the Night" ultimately proved to me that black metal and true heavy metal can not only co-exist, but feed off of each other's strengths. This beast might have roped me in with it's heavy metal leanings, but I ended up sticking around because of Mia Larrson. Now that this Swedish act has got my attention I cannot wait to see what comes next!

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