Sun. Nov 29th, 2020

REVIEW: Drakum – Zombie Dragons from Outer Space

After six years of waiting, the Spanish folk metal band from Barcelona has released their second full-length album. Now, I know what you’re thinking, the title is… questionable, and even GLORYHAMMER might consider it a bit too much. But let’s delve into more important things: what the album sounds like and what the band’s been up to since their debut, “Torches Will Rise Again.

The album starts off with an intro titled “U’re Fucked Obviously.” I have to say that misspelling made me break out in a rash and I thoroughly hate it. The track itself is a one-minute collage of warnings in various languages about unknown objects appearing around the nation so thematically it seems to work, but I’m glad it’s no longer than a minute. I’m also glad I never have to spell you’re like that again.

Onto the first actual song of the album, “The Big One,” and it’s promising. It’s got a nice folky tune on a violin at the start that soon turns into hard-hitting drums with fast-paced guitars. The harsh vocals are pretty brutal-sounding, intertwined with some cleans as well, which work nicely. The song doesn’t sacrifice melody for brutality and really manages to nicely combine fairly classic melodeath with a folk touch. 

DRAKUM continues with a mandatory track for any folk metal album – a drinking song titled “Drunken Heroes.” Like most drinking songs there’s little innovation here, but the song is properly fast and rather dancey. What more can you ask for in a drinking song, really? The band was joined by a new vocalist, Marc Storm, for this album and I think that’s a good choice. He has a deep, strong growl, which isn’t completely unintelligible and he utilises it fairly melodically while also being able to handle highs with ease, giving his vocals a decent range. 

I do love a cultural crossover and that’s what DRAKUM does with “Urashima” – it’s their take on a Japanese tale of a fisherman who rescues a turtle from some spoiled twats who are abusing it and the turtle turns out to be a princess from an underwater kingdom. The continuation of the story is slightly reminiscent of that of Dorian Gray, but anyway on to the musical part. I can see why the band has chosen “Urashima” as their single from this album, it’s a very approachable song if this is the kind of music you tend to enjoy, it has a catchy chorus and a lovely folky melody. I do wish the lyrics would have more complexity to them, but it’s clear the band is not that well-versed in English.

We Are Alive” is definitely a song that will work great in live shows and make people chant along loudly while some of them try to find the most innovative way to dislodge another’s shoulder in the moshpit. Not sure about what the message of the actual song is meant to be other than that they are alive, which is typically a good sign for a band, especially in live settings. The sextet also offers a sea shanty inspired track “Pirate Dreams,” which does leave me a bit thematically confused as there’s been a lack of zombies, dragons, or aliens so far, but okay. The song is fun in a classic piratey way and will make you tap your wooden leg while enjoying some rum in your hook-friendly glass.

While the overall sound doesn’t stray much on the album, the band does introduce quite an array of different musical inspirations throughout. “Tambors de Llibertat” starts off with bagpipes and a marching army, a very mighty feel, supported by the sound of a choir that’s added towards the end. The track is, however, just a prelude to “Fins I’Ultim Ale“, which I presume is sung in Catalan and features a guest appearance from their previous vocalist Umbra Hatzler

The twelve-track release is capped off with the title track “Zombie Dragons from Outer Space.” It’s by far the longest song on the album, clocking in just over eight minutes and it’s another really catchy tune that talks about “dragons, fucking dragons.” And apparently “they’re here to stay.” Despite my slight mockery of the lyricism, DRAKUM really does what they wanted to do – the song is super fun, it makes you want to move and dance – but in a brutal headbanging way, don’t worry. The last three minutes of the song, however, is mostly just the sounds of the ocean with some seagulls and a soothing piano melody with some choirs to ease you out of the record.

So, conclusions. This is a really solid, fun folk metal record. It’s fast and brutal in a death metal way, it’s sufficiently folky to make you want to move and vocally it’s pretty impressive. There are a decent amount of questionable decisions, such as the intro, the outro, the album title, and the bloody misspelling, which still enrages me. DRAKUM has done well to return amongst the living in the metal scene after six years (or five from their EP “Trollmin“) and I hope it doesn’t take them as long to release their next full-length album.

Written by Didrik Mešiček

Tracklist

  1. U’re Fucked Obviously
  2. The Big One
  3. Drunken Heroes
  4. Ragman
  5. Urashima
  6. We Are Alive
  7. Bonfire
  8. Pirate Dreams
  9. Tambors de Llibertat
  10. Fins I’Ultim Ale
  11. I Am Here
  12. Zombie Dragons from Outer Space

Lineup

Marc Martínez – guitars

Cristian Villanueva – Feni – guitars

Javi Rubio – Caleb – violin

Jose Luis Pareño – bass

Xavi Puigallí – drums

Marc Storm – vocals

Label

Hellheim Records

Links

https://www.drakum.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DrakumOfficial/
https://www.instagram.com/_drakum/

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