Dracena: Ravenous Bloodlust

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Dracena: Ravenous Bloodlust
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Dracena: Ravenous Bloodlust
Black Metal, Thrash Metal
Self-release
January 30th, 2014
Release length: 20:05
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Dracena comes to us from Sweden, and formed back in 1994. Since then, the group has mostly kept to the unsigned underground. In 1997 they released their first demo, with two more in 1999 and 2001, as well as the Demonic Women EP issued through Bloodstone Entertainment. 2006 saw the release of their debut album Infernal Damnation, which was the recording that earned the largely female entity a good deal of additional attention and praise. Now, after a roughly eight year gap, Dracena returns with a brand new EP, Ravenous Bloodlust. But, after all this time, is this a recording worth taking notice of?

After the very brief twenty-four second “Intro” of ambient sounds like church bells and thunder in the distance, “Ravenous Bloodshed” kicks in with venomous Thrash filled fury. There is a slight sharpness to the guitars, and the bass is a bit muffled, but does its job well enough. There’s plenty of enthusiasm on display, and a distortion on the vocals similar to modern Arch Enemy. Even though Dracena is a mixture of Black and Thrash Metal, the sleek production and catchier riffs of the latter style end up giving it more of a Melodic Death Metal vibe, only being dismissed here by the commanding slower passages. “Witching Hour” brings in some aggressive Black Metal riffs against a Thrash Metal pace that Goatwhore fans will immediately eat up. Sadly while a strong performance, the song itself isn’t too memorable, even with the off-key leads that give a mildly creepy vibe when used.

The galloping main verses of “Essence of Evil” really does usher in that Melodic Death Metal vibe, as do some of the cleaner leads that contribute more melody than anything. Sadly the song itself doesn’t sound too unique, or even that thrilling outside the chorus and vocals. “Crypt of Darkness” is another slower track that rarely picks up speed. In a way it sounds like a groove-heavy Thrash Metal performance similar to something you might hear on an Annihilator album from the mid-2000’s, while also having an odd hint of Southern attitude. Sadly the music itself is pretty simple overall, causing the performance getting old pretty quick, which isn’t good given the over five-and-a-half minute lifespan it has.

If Ravenous Bloodshed is the best Dracena can offer after almost eight years between releases, you won’t feel much like waiting around for the next release. It’s sleek, it’s polished, it’s often catchy, but it’s just not that memorable. With only four major songs, there’s one, maybe two that really stick out from the cesspool that comes off an all too familiar mixture of Goatwhore and Arch Enemy. The crisp audio quality doesn’t help either, finding little to no bite in the slower songs, and even restricting the impact on the two faster cuts. While impressive at first, once that shiny outer coating wears down, you’ll find yourself coming back to Ravenous Bloodshed less and less, but at least leaving you with the feeling that Dracena may be a band better left seeing live than listening to from the recording studio.

01. Intro – 0:24
02. Ravenous Bloodlust – 4:27
03. Essence of Evil – 5:16
04. Crypt of Darkness – 5:42
05. Witching Hour – 4:16
Initial Pressing Score: 5.5/10

Dracena
Dracena

Digital review copy of this release provided by Gabriele Management.