Draagyn is an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist with a rich and sinfully lush voice that lulls you right in. Her latest release, a three-song EP entitled Bent Rib is a definite winner and it really took me by surprise. My main issue with the record is that we only get three songs, but that’s a good thing.
There’s a clear appreciation for Norwegian black metal even though her music doesn’t really fit into the scene. She claims to be inspired by the trickster Askeladden who is character in Norwegian folk stories. Askeladden is generally seen an underachiever but then rises above in particularly deeds where others have failed.
“Appetite of Man” has groove, melody, a wealth of very appropriate time changes and a cornucopia of influences that range from the likes of Jucifer to Alcest to Cult of Luna. Not to mention the beat takes me back to Danzig‘s “Killer Wolf” right from the get-go. Now while many might scoff of the idea of a 6+ minute song that features so many different pieces and pulls from so many genres, Draagyn pulls it off expertly. The musicianship is quite apparent as is her appreciation for so many pertinent underground artists and sounds. It’s quickly become one of my favorite songs of the year as the melody along with the vocal performance is absolutely intoxicating.
The second track, “Beating Heart Cadaver” has a touch of Cradle of Filth and just the perfect smattering of blackened sonics over her soulful voice that can be pensive at times and aggressive at others. All of that is encased by a hefty groove with a just the right amount of low end in the mix. This particular track can make you feel full of bliss with her sultry voice and then whisk you right away to darkness in her next breath. There’s a little bit of Deftones here as well that some listeners may pick up on.
The final cut, “Bent Rib” gives me some more Glenn Danzig feels on the piano but that’s about where the comparison ends. The rest of the song is clearly experimental with the use of synths and electronically-generated percussion. It’s a proggy track as well that takes the listener on rather diverse winding journey that, frankly, you don’t want to end. I could have easily listened to “Bent Rib” for another three or four minutes. It’s novel. It’s fresh and it’s nothing like I’ve heard in a long time.
When I first read about Draagyn, I must admit I was a bit apprehensive as I approach “genre-bending” and “musical outlier” with caution because, quite frankly, more often than not the music doesn’t really live up to the hype. But look. Bent Rib, is particularly compelling and pulls off what it set out to do. In this respect, her inspiration from Askeladden is all-too-appropriate as she is able to garner success at what so many other artists fail to achieve.
Draagyn is relatively new the underground music scene and little is known about the artist short of a few instagram photos and a couple of short videos she created. This EP, however, left me wanting to not only hear a lot more of her work but to learn more about her as an artist.