Swedish melodic doom metal lords Draconian have released the first single from their long awaited sixth studio album, titled SOVRAN, and the first to feature South African vocalist Heike Langhans after the departure of a much loved Lisa Johansson in 2011. The metallically mesmerizing single ‘Stellar Tombs’ offers fans a magnificent peephole into the soon-to-be-released album and what they can expect with the newest addition to the band. Pre-orders can be bought via Napalm Records with the full album becoming available on 30 October 2015.
Below we also had a bit of a chat with Heike about the move from South Africa to Sweden, and some of the new experiences she has been faced with as a member of Draconian.
Heike Langhans, having been a member of Draconian for three years already, presented herself and the band with a great challenge when she began her immigration process from home country South Africa.
“That sounds longer than it feels, I must say. I first auditioned in 2012, but after some back and forth during 2013, I only received my residence permit in June 2014. One full year went to waiting for visa processing and following all the red-tape procedures.” ~ Heike Langhans (vocals, Draconian / ISON)
Nonetheless, with activity on the public front appearing quiet, Draconian have gradually been gearing up towards this return to the grandeur of the stage and performance space. In this time, Heike appears to have integrated seamlessly into the long-established act.
“We were definitely on a bit of a mental holiday from band business, but we spent some time in our own studio rehearsing and throwing ideas around. Anders and myself spent a lot of time getting all philosophical and drawing inspiration for the new album. Personal evolution and meaningful experiences tend to happen when we are not in any rush and all this waiting around kind of forced us to spend a lot of time thinking and soul-searching.” ~ Heike Langhans
Heike went on to explain how then, upon her more permanent return to Sweden in August 2014, the band got straight to business on preparing for the new album, tracking demos and fine-tuning ideas. Despite one live appearance in Belgium, featuring Heike for the first time on stage with the band, all focus remained on the album.
“By the end of 2014, I realized that the calm before the storm would be coming to an end. 2015 Would be chaos. And so far it has been!” ~ Heike Langhans
On her role in the band with an already-rich song writing culture and method, Heike admits to having expected that her voice would simply be slotted into ideas which had already been constructed. She was thrilled to find Johan and Anders to actually appreciate input, recognizing talent and knowing how to utilize it.
“They wanted me to get involved and bring my own flavor, since they knew it would be a dark and melancholy one. However, they also pushed and encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and I think that has paid off. Lyrics definitely remain Anders’ ‘thing’, but some of my own writing was deemed worthy and made it onto the album.” ~ Heike Langhans
Of course, we who have been following Heike’s musical journey for some years already in her native country also know that she has always been a writer of her own solo material; yet she has also featured in a number of other projects. We wanted to hear more about how she experienced working in a new kind of environment, also with such a developed band.
“This is an entirely new experience for me, since I’m used to having full control or none at all. Working patiently with another person and letting go of ego, is another learning curve I’m grateful for.” ~ Heike Langhans
To pre-order Draconian‘s SOVRAN deluxe box set (with poster flag and pendant), visit the link at Napalm Records website here, and if you have liked what you have heard of Heike’s voice so far, also check the independently released debut EP of her and Daniel Änghede’s project ISON here.
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