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Draven - 'Mirror' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/e1/23/ae/1245_dravenmirror_1305222238.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 12, 2011    
 
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An enjoyable, unexpectedly moving piece of blissfully easy listening.

Picture Static-X teaming up with chart crooners Savage Garden, and you're still only halfway to defining the weird and wonderful Draven. Now, take a moment to repress that rather disturbing mental image and indulge in a generous slice of shamelessly sweet modern metal. 

Led by squeaky-clean harmonies and a throbbing dance floor beat, the Swiss duo's sound brings with it no small amount of Europop cheese backed by the sort of stereotypical angst for which nu metal is famed. But by the same token, this oftentimes saccharine formula is frighteningly addictive, boasting an uncanny knack for bittersweet melody and dynamic songwriting. The end result is a lovingly assembled mix of smouldering dance and blistering metal furnished with production as pristine as the double act's immaculately coiffed hairdos. Hinged on meaty, buzzsaw-like riffs and silken male vocals, 'Perfect System' instantly recalls the glory days of Linkin Park, delivering an uplifting hit of adrenalin and raw, passionate feeling.

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Taking an altogether more symphonic tack, 'Bother' demonstrates dazzling technical wizardry, oscillating between classically gothic keyboards and futuristic flurries of programming. From the moody balladry of 'Let Me Be Myself' to Draven's explosive, folk metal-tinged title track, 'Mirror' entertains throughout, fuelled by equal measures of emotion, aggression and impeccable style. However, it's not without a couple of niggling flaws, which include occasionally samey vocal hooks and a spectacularly terrible stab at death metal-style growling. While Draven's clean vocals positively ooze studio-smooth perfection, the bizarrely titled 'Clean My Mind' is flecked with embarrassingly half-baked snarling. And although the band's daring approach to songwriting is for the most part refreshing, extreme metal appears to have been an unwise addition to this multi-layered mix.

Combining flawlessly groomed vocal talent with ultra-catchy songwriting, 'Mirror' is an enjoyable, unexpectedly moving piece of blissfully easy listening.

Faye Coulman

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