Genre: Occult Black Metal Symphonic Black Metal Symphonic Death Metal
Label: Wake Up Dead Records
I remember it was early 2000′s when I was searching to discover new unknown bands in a local underground metal store. I happened to fall upon a band I’ve never heard of and I was attracted by its beautiful artwork with two occult dragon-like symbols in a red background. After a preview listening, I decided to buy it at once, enchanted by the occult atmosphere of its raw underground symphonic black metal. It was Akhenaton’s album “Divine Symphonies“, released in 1995 by Adipocere Records. I found out it was the only album of Akhenaton, the personal project of Vincent Urbain from France, who had also released the album “Dark Opera of the Ancient War Spirit (Or Search the Light)“, under the band name Daemonium in 1994, again via Adipocere. I later learned that these 2 works were the first 2 parts of a trilogy…
It was on December 21st, 2012 when Vincent decided the time has come to form a new project, once again under a different band name. Thus, Sangdragon were born with the mission to give an appropriate ending to the trilogy. This time however, Vincent was surrounded by many talented musicians in the band’s line-up, including Nightmare’s guitarist Matthieu Asselberghs, since this project would also perform live, something that happened for the first time in 2014. Finally after a lot of work, Sangdragon released the third part of the trilogy, entitled “Requiem for Apocalypse“. It was out on May 9, 2015 via Wake Up Dead Records, 20 years after Akhenaton’s “Divine Symphonies“!
As someone could easily guess, a lot of things have changed. Apart from the occult symphonic atmosphere of their music, everything else is much different in this work, especially in terms of sound quality and production! It’s not so easy to “label” their music style, since their sound is much richer and more versatile than before. Sangdragon combine elements of atmospheric cinematic music, with symphonic metal, melodic black death metal, epic medieval metal and occult ambient passages. Guitars have a much more powerful and dominant role in their compositions, with a very technical modern sound and heavy riffs that often reveal a “thrashy” mood. There are 10 Acts in “Requiem for Apocalypse” with a total playing time of over 46 minutes. Their compositions are really multi-dimensional, with complex structures and total absence of repetition. As a result, the album grows more and more with each listen and it clearly demands your time and attention to reveal its secrets. The band has done a professional job in the vocals too! Except for the leading brutal vocals that move from black metal screams to death metal growls, the album is full of haunting choirs (performed by live choir), epic male vocals and eerie female vocals of operatic or ethnic aethereal nature. The overall result is more than impressive! Lyrically the album closes the epic saga of the warrior called Serphanim that was introduced since the Daemonium era…
If you are looking for a different style of symphonic black death metal, with perfect sound and complex songs, that pays more attention to the epic occult atmosphere than the catchy melodic synths, then Sangdragon might impress you. Either way they are one of the pioneers of this genre… “Requiem for Apocalypse” is released by Wake Up Dead Records and is officially distributed via Season of Mist, so it is not that hard to find. It comes in a standard jewel-case CD edition with 8-page booklet, including detailed descriptions of the concept of each song. The beautiful artwork and design, that totally fits their music, is by Krantal Infographist. You can visit their official pages below and decide for yourselves. An official live clip for the track “Front of Steel” has also been released.