Nima : Back in 2006 Draugr pleasantly surprised me with their debut album 'Nocturnal Pagan Supremacy'. Having three members of Italian black metal aggressors Sturmkaiser in its ranks, Draugr delivered extreme black metal combined with great folk metal on that album, and unlike many colleagues they seemed to have find a good balance between the two genres. Although black metal did have the upper hand on that record.
On their second full-length, which was initially self-released in 2011, the gentlemen continue where they left off with the debut. Only this time they have brought everything to a higher level and have outdone themselves on all matters. Extreme black metal is still the music backbone, and the band especially reminds me of Cradle Of Filth at the time of the fantastic 'Dusk And Her Embrace' and 'Cruelty And The Beast'. This is not only because vocalist Augur Svantir's hellish screams are quite similar to Dani Filth's, but also the atmosphere and the guitar sound reminds me a lot of the British giants.
In comparison with the debut the folk metal elements have gained more space on 'De Ferro Italico' and more or less have the upper hand now. And the music has only benefitted from that. Because of this not only does the music sound more versatile, but the band has also managed to distinguish itself more from Sturmkaiser. The keyboards are play a bigger role, and although the keys are not dominant, they do provide a dark, heroic and somewhat evil and warmongering atmosphere. The folk tunes do sound a bit too happy in some parts, but the band compensates that well by delivering enough extreme black metal pieces. Therefore the album doesn't sweeten up whatsoever, which can quickly become the case with this type of music. Black and folk are definitely more in balance here and the music sounds more versatile and exciting than before. The songs are also well provided with many details so that even more listening turns offer new discoveries, and despite the playing time f a full hour the music doesn't collapse even for a second. Despite the many details and "chaotic” the album is already catchy at first hear. And finally the production has turned out much stronger, in which there has been a great eye for the details and all instruments are well-balanced in the mix. Although the sound and production is clear and powerful, the album doesn't sound over-produced or too digital fortunately.
To form some idea of what Draugr sounds like, you can think of a blend of bands such as Cradle Of Filth, later Immortal, Thyrfing, Finntroll, Eluveitie, Sturmkaiser, Stormlord, old Hecate Enthroned and similar artists. Add a heroic, epic atmosphere to the whole and you'll know what you can expect from 'De Ferro Italico'. Fans of extreme, atmospheric black and folk met should definitely check this out. Very good!