Metal is a culture that tends to reflect back on itself and never lose sight of previously popular elements. This is immediately apparent in the large number of bands releasing music today that still feature the “Old School Death Metal” sound; the sound heard on releases from Morbid Angel and friends that has been evolving and adapting throughout the years since it’s inception. One of the newest acts to adopt a derivative of this style is Draghkar with their short but exceptional demo, World Unraveled.
World Unraveled is an onslaught of riff after riff coming from a bouncy guitar tone that manages to sound wonky and evil at the same time, allowing for some pretty interesting sounds. Draghkar could be considered “cavernous death metal”, in the vein of modern acts like Tomb Mold, Disma, and Grave Miasma and draws obvious influences from the American, Finnish, and Swedish death metal scenes. This specific style is relatively new on the scene but has roots that trace back to the early 90’s, and much of what can be heard on this release could be considered staples of the subgenre. Echoey vocals that are driven by the guitar work bellow across the track, and the drumming (which admittedly takes a bit of a backseat role) maintains the quick pace of everything. Unexpectedly, this musical approach complements the lyrics of folk-tale heroism and monster slaying fairly well, whereas similar acts tend to sing about the grotesque and vile aspects of life, death, and life beyond death. Draghkar hasn’t done anything innovative or ground-breaking here, but they’ve certainly gotten this caverndeath style down to a T, and it’s accompanied by strong song structures.
Still, this demo is Draghkar’s first release, and it shows. It’s packed with old-school Incantation-style riffing that fits in behind the warm and fuzzy lo-fi production, but even taking into consideration the intended sound, there’s an air of imperfection. The distant and unearthly atmosphere, which was surely the desired effect, is captured and well utilized on this release, but there’s something slightly off about the layering. Overall, it makes for an excellent recreation of the classic death metal feel with some modern tweaks, but despite it’s grimy nature, World Unraveled is still noticeably unpolished.
For a first effort, it’s really a fantastic listen, but at the end of the day it’s too early to judge what Draghkar is fully capable of. World Unraveled is a more than solid listen, but clocks in at under ten minutes and leaves the listener wanting more. Here’s hoping that the wait for a new Draghkar release is a short one so we can all hop right back into the fuzzy pool of Wheel of Time worship.