Dragonland - Starfall

Dragonland – Starfall

82 / 100

Dragonland are one of the many Swedish bands populating the progressive metal circuit. They are a rare breed, combining super rich melodies with a full-on sonic assault.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: Dragonland
ALBUM: Starfall
LABEL: Century Media
SERIAL: 77512-2
YEAR: 2004
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Jonas Heidgert – vocals * Niklas Magnusson – guitars * Olaf Morck – guitars * Elias Holmlid – keyboards * Christer Pedersen – bass * Jesse Lindskog – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 As Madness Took Me * 02 Starfall * 03 Calling My Name * 04 In Perfect Harmony * 05 The Dream Seeker * 06 The Shores Of Our Land * 07 The Returning * 08 To The End Of The World * 09 The Book Of Shadows Part 1 – A Story Yet Untold * 10 The Book Of Shadows Part 2 – The Curse Of Qa’a * 11 The Book Of Shadows Part 3 – The Glendora Outbreak * 12 Rusty Nails (Jap Bonus) * 13 As Madness Took Me (Demo version Jap Bonus) * 14 Starfall (Demo version Jap Bonus)



Dragonland are another of the many Swedish bands populating the progressive metal circuit at present. They are a rare breed, having managed to combine super rich melodies with a full-on sonic assault. Some die-hard heavy-than-thou metal fans dismiss this band as being ‘too pop’ within the prog metal scene. Well, Dragonland surely aren’t Opeth, Children Of Bodom or Dimmu Borgir, but they certainly know how to gate-crash a party.

From Gothenberg, this is the bands third album, and they have certainly thrown some sugar over the mix in comparison to their prior two efforts (2001’s ‘Battle Of The Ivory Plains’ and 2002’s ‘Holy War’). It seems the band have restrained the full-on bludgeon epic metal approach to a mature fantasy-theme based direction instead. They probably needed to do it to stand out from the rest of the pack.

‘Starfall’ takes on more keyboards this time, and the interplay between guitars and keys is something you take for granted from the good bands within this genre. Think Sonata Arctica, Pagans Mind or a more melodic Rhapsody and you’d be quite some way toward understanding Dragonland.

The Songs

The impressive ‘As Madness Took Me’ leads us off. The keyboard work is fantastic, the integration with the dual guitars and super-fast drum work a wake up call at the start of the CD. Indeed the title track ‘Starfall’ could be construed as being their most commercial tune to date. It’s not exactly Europe but you get an idea as to what the band could achieve if they went the AOR path.

The spoken word intro to ‘Calling My Name’ is a hoot, the music which follows is fast-paced with a neo-classical emphasis. The perfect ‘In Perfect Harmony’ has a heavy dose of Pagans Mind in the mix, the chugga-chugga riffs and the mystical vocal evokes lovely memories of that fantastic ‘Celestial Entrance’ album!

Continuing in this vein is ‘The Dream Seeker’, fast and slow passages populate this track. The band haven’t forgotten how to pen an epic based tune. ‘The Shores Of Our Land’ is one such effort, the Viking theme can be heard in the mix, as well as the female vocals of Johanna Anderson, who has sung with the likes of Dark Tranquility.

It’s all speed ahead on the tempo-challenged ‘The Returning’, while the three-part epic ‘The Book Of Shadows’ weaves a historic tale of ancient Egypt. The three part segment is only ten minutes long, the first an instrumental piece, the second segment is heavier, while the third wouldn’t sound out of place on a movie soundtrack. ‘Mummy 3’ anyone?

In Summary

All in all a good attempt at a changed direction, but this album is not the one to cement their name in lights just yet. I feel they are an album or two away from being a household name in prog metal circles.

The band returned at the tail end of 2006 with their ‘Astronomy’ album. Certain to be given a bit of critique, and it will be interesting to see how it stacks up against ‘Starfall’. We wait with eager anticipation. However, fans of Pagans Mind and keyboard laced prog metal would do well to get acquainted with Dragonland.


As Madness Took Me

As Madness Took Me

Dragonland - Starfall

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