Pumpehuset, Copenhagen - 2023

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Contrasting Shores Of Null from earlier, Draconian was actually a band I had heard of, even though I hadn’t been in contact with their music. What came as the biggest surprise was actually that they were Swedish, something I’d never have guessed. Not that it matters, it just caught me off guard.

“Tack så mycket, Köpenhamn!”
- Anders Jacobsson (vocals)

So, Draconian delivered a high dose of ‘90s goth/doom, and they did so in an almost impenetrable wall of smoke (to start off with, anyway), without a backdrop (as the only ones), and with candles on the amplifiers that weren’t lit (ok, so it turned out the candles belonged to Swallow The Sun, but why even have them standing there now, if you’re not going to use them?); questions arose. Mostly about the setup, mind you, but it kind of did lay the road map for what was ahead.
Having one more member in the band, Draconian had even less space to move about on than Shores Of Null had had, so in a way, they could be excused for their lacking activity, but it didn’t help the show. And right about here, I’d like to point out one glaring exception; guitarist Niklas Nord. Apparently Nord has only been with the band for very near to precisely a year now, but wow, what an injection of energy! From the first second, he was fully committed to the show, headbanging hard and crushing it with his backing growls. Spoiler alert: watching him was the best part of the show.

“Mange tak, København! Det er fint at være her!”
- Lisa Johansson (vocals)

Judging from the surroundings, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that Draconian would be the headliner. Their merchandise stand was as big as Shores Of Null and Swallow The Sun’s combined, and there was without comparison most Draconian shirts visible among the visitors. Even though they were in support of Swallow The Sun, the response they got compared to that for Shores Of Null was incredible! The room had been filled before, but now the pressure was truly on!
Draconian were met by loud cheers and applause, and the praise held up throughout the show.
What I don’t understand is, why? I’m sorry, but if you look past Nord (why would you though?), the performance was utterly bereft of energy and nerve. Sure, Lisa Johansson moved her arms about a bit, and sometimes Anders Jacobsson took his eyes off his shoes to say a few words, but honestly, what was lacking here was a connection. It felt like they were going through the motions, but without being present. And with the band showing little to no interest in the show, why should we? Copenhagen was the second date on this tour, so they really shouldn’t be tired yet. Was it too small a place for them? But they had such good support in the crowd.

I really can’t say what went wrong here, and since it’s my first time seeing Draconian, I have no reference for comparison. I just know that if I’m going to get on board with this, the rest of the band need to begin to at least approach the energy of their new guitarist. That would look good on them.


The Sacrificial Flame
Lustrous Heart
The Sethian
Stellar Tombs
Seasons Apart
Sorrow Of Sophia
Elysian Night
Pale Tortured Blue
Daylight Misery


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