The beginning of Sweden’s DRACONIAN can be traced back to May 1994, when Johan Ericson (drums, vocals), Andy Hindenäs (guitars) and Jesper Stolpe (bass, vocals) joined forces as KERBEROS, a melodic heavy/death metal ensemble with black metal influences. Seven months later, lead vocalist and poet Anders Jacobsson joined the band, which then changed its name to what it is today.
Over the next months, DRACONIAN worked diligently on new material that eventually found its way to their first demo recorded in Studio Källgren on 27 Oct 1995, exactly one week of their live debut. With the help of Jessica Eriksson (flute, vocals), Susanne Arvidsson (vocals, keyboard) and Andreas Haag (responsible for the intro “My Nemesis”) Shades of a Lost Moon was created. However, it was not made public until February 1996, as Magnus ”Bergis” Bergström (guitars), a longtime friend of the band, joined DRACONIAN.
Shades of a Lost Moon received excellent reviews worldwide, prompting the interest of several labels. However, no contract materialized. At the end of January 1997, DRACONIAN recorded their second demo, In Glorious Victory. Unfortunately, the band quickly grew discontent with the sound quality of the recording and decided not to release it.
The months that followed were less productive for DRACONIAN, as two of its members completed their military service. Nevertheless, rehearsals and new composition were still a part of the band’s agenda. The new material called for yet another addition to the band. Keyboardist Andreas Karlsson joined them, taking Susanne Arvidsson’s place, who was forced to leave the band for personal reasons. It soon became clear that the members of DRACONIAN had conquered their niche, producing an atmospheric, melodic, and emotive type of gothic metal with a flair all its own.
In 1998 and 1999 DRACONIAN headed for the stage. The positive feedback convinced the band that it was again time to tackle the studio. In early August 1999, DRACONIAN entered Studio Kuling to record The Closed Eye of Paradise, an album that dealt with the mystical dark theme of Lucifer and his fallen angels, the true face of God, and the forthcoming battle. On it, Susanne Arvidsson made guest vocal appearances.
Unfortunately, the recording, suffering from a bad production, was again not up to DRACONIAN’s high standards. The band thus opted to attempt some polishing before its official release. During the months of May and June 2000, Andreas Karlsson, Anders Jacobsson, and Johan Ericson were dedicated to improve the quality of the demo. New melodies were applied, as well as effects, which had erroneously been left out in the studio. The effort paid off, and the demo was finally released.
DRACONIAN now concentrated on creating something new. Their sound became slower, darker, and doomier. The material that ensued guided DRACONIAN in a different direction. Their 2-track promo Frozen Features was made available on the Internet, as well as in CD format.
Shortly after recording Frozen Features, Andy Hindenäs took a sabbatical from the band. He was replaced by Johan, who left the drumming responsibilities to Jerry Torstensson. While the band was experiencing line up changes, their self-produced demo was causing quite a stir among critics and fans of the gothic metal genre. A final demo was recorded in the summer of 2002. Dark Oceans We Cry paved the final way for DRACONIAN out of the unknown and into the limelight. The demo received outstanding reviews and the band signed a long-awaited record deal with NAPALM RECORDS.
Lisa Johansson, a friend of Jerrys, became a member to handle the female vocals; which she did perfectly.
Jesper left the band shortly before signing the contract, for practical reasons and studies. He was replaced by Thomas Jäger; a longtime friend of the band who had supported them with back-up before. DRACONIAN is currently preparing for the recording of their debut album. The band will enter Studio Mega in June 2003 to record what they describe as heavy and melodic music with dark and bewitching overtones: Gothic doom metal with a romantic twist.
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