Sound — 7
From the dark forests of Sweden comes an even darker sound, courtesy of Fascination Street Studios in Orebro. I've oft before stated that this section sometimes feels redundant, since the production standards of today are so high, and you can sign this album up for that. It's a pretty average production considering the times we live in. By that I mean that there's not much to complain about. All the instruments are finely in tune with each other, the guitars have the right amount of crunch and punch, vocals sit nicely in the mix, etcetera. Perhaps this album deserve more accolades for its production considering that the band is in fact a 7-piece, with two vocalists, two guitarists, keyboards, bass and drums. The more elements you add, the harder it is to achieve clarity, but Turning Season Within manages to preserve clarity in the brooding darkness. While the album is finely produced, it's hardly an envelope pusher, but it'd be unfair to expect much more. The band after-all resides in an area of the country where good studios and even better producers are in minor abundance (I know, I live there), if you're looking for dark and heavy sounds. All in all, a fine production where things are where they should be, and sound as per expected.
Lyrics — 5
Draconian's lyrical themes tend to deal with sadness, love, loss and the like. When doing my usual research before reviewing, I found these comments by vocalist Anders Jacobsson: "Failing and hopeless love relationships, as well as how we deal with them is what this album is about [...] pain is a topic that never grows old in musical themes. Some people seem to forget that love can be the greatest hell you have to manage, while remaining vital to our existence." While the quotations above are certainly true, I must say that this is one of the most over-used approaches to lyrics I can think of. The lyrics are hardly revolutionary, and it's absolutely fine if the band isn't aiming for that, but I look for innovation and/or at least improving on a proven formula, and this album can't be credited with either. Lyrically it sits safely in the tried-and-tested-section. The lyrics aren't bad, but the band isn't taking any chances, and if you don't try you can never succeed (in getting a favorable review from me). As for writing dark and depressive lyrics, I can understand Jacobsson. Their hometown of Saffle doesn't exactly resemble the LA Strip, if you get my drift.
Overall Impression — 5
Time for the section that really matters. Well, no need to keep you waiting, so I'll say it right away: it's a pretty boring album. Is it bad? No. Is it good? Not really. My main issue with this album was that I had a hard time forming much of an opinion about it, because the album doesn't stick out in the least, be it in a good or bad way. It just sits nicely in the grey zone between good and bad. It's dark, heavy I'm sure the band think it's a great album, and that fans who have appreciated their previous works will like this as well, but from a reviewers perspective the album doesn't do much. My main issue, which I know is somewhat vital to doom, is the lack of tempo changes. Most songs plod along in similar tempos and I find that to be incredibly boring. A band blasting away in 240bpm can be incredibly boring, just like a band constantly grooving along in 120bpm can be uninteresting. Turning Season Within, gently put, plods along too much putting out similar song after similar song. One of the main culprits being the same-y tempos, the other being the fact that hey, this has been done before by a thousand-and-four bands. I find the album uninteresting because I've heard it before, by many other bands. However, you can't take away the fact that it is a) well written b) well produced and c) well executed. It's certainly not bad, nor is it very good. It's just floating on a life-raft in the sea of mediocrity.