Swedish heavy metallers Dragonland were hatched in Gothenburg in 1999 with Magnus Olin on drums and Daniel Kvist on guitar. The band issued a demo called Storming Across Heaven in 2000 and signed with the Greek label, Black Lotus Records. Battle Of The Ivory Plains was issued in 2001 and was produced at Los Angered with Andy La Roque. Its Japanese edition featured the Storming Across Heaven demo as bonus tracks. Album number two was recorded at Studio Fredman. Starfall was issued by Century Media in 2004 - where the band had signed on in February, 2004 - in Europe and was licensed by Magick for the Americas. This album was recorded at Division One Studios which is owned by Evergrey's Tom Englund. The band's guitarists formed a death metal project called The Returning. A tour with Yngwie Malmsteen soon followed.
Dragonland lost guitarist Nicklas Magnusson and bassist Christer Pedersen in August of 2011. New on bass was Anders Hammer (Nightrage) while drumming was Morten Lowe Sorensen (The Arcane Order, Amaranthe and Submission). Atypically, drummer Jesse Lindskog is moving to the guitarist position. Dragonland picked Under The Grey Banner as the title for its next album. The third part of the Dragonland Chronicles trilogy was released on November 18th through AFM Records.
DRAGONLAND - THE BATTLE OF THE IVORY PLAINS - BLACK LOTUS
Hailing from Gothenburg and singing of dragons and, errr, more dragons, Dragonland could have been another Hammerfall. The singer exudes good melody and the band on the up tempo musters a musical high. Andy LaRoque's sound and production is clear, the drummer can run and the two guitarists can break into the occasional and nice Malmsteen-esque leads whenever they want. But all the potential is wasted when the band reveals its immature hand by dragging out the K&F (keyboards & Female vocals) to obviously disappointing effect. Dragonland is not unusual in being a project of members from other Swedish bands. For them to garner success though, the act needs to fire the keyboardist, limit the female singing to the bedroom and work a little on its grammatical composition. If these happen, Dragonland could well be a speed metal contender.
DRAGONLAND - STARFALL - CENTURY MEDIA/MAGICK
If this album's style is 'power metal' then someone should point out either the power or the metal on it to me. Sadly for Dragonland the more one listens to Starfall, the worse one's impression becomes. The album is soft, powerless and insubstantial. The band's approach is commercial and poppy. It is obvious that the musicians can handle their respective instruments, but the smooth singing, the overpowering keyboards, the clean sound, production and instrumentation and the appearance of female vocals render the new Dragonland album worthless and turn the whole affair into one poppy chop job. For instance, the title track is too jolly or happy and suffers too much from the giddy backing vocals to be remotely metal, the female vocals on The Shores Of Our Land just add insult to the music of the song which sounds like a carol at a fun fair. The Book Of Shadows Part I is a soft and commercial song which is soon followed by the dragging and orchestral The Book Of Shadows Part III.
Dragonland's Starfall is a disappointing album that will suit fans of fantasy rock or newer Evergrey enthusiasts. The band has no value otherwise or elsewhere. - Ali "The Metallian"