“Hierophant” is an album for symphonic Death Metal fans that are not afraid to cross genre boundaries. If you love the album, “Hierophant” will not let you go
November 24, 2023

SANGDRAGON hailing from Macon, France have had a long-lasting career so far. Formed in the 90s as DAEMONIUM and later active as AKHENATON, the symphonic Black and Death Metal outfit changed name again in 2011. As SANGDRAGON, the release now their sophomore album after the debut in 2015. “Hierophant” comes as double-album with 15 songs totaling about 80 minutes of music. The album was mixed and recorded by Edouard Vemeret (ARCHITEKT; SKAPHOS) and mastered by Eddy Dorigny (AMON SETHIS; ELTHARIA). Belgium Death and Doom Metal specialists Meuse Music Records distributes the album outside France and Seasons Of Mist is the distributor in France.


Releasing double-albums has become a rarity during recent years. In a world that has become faster and faster, where the number of Spotify clicks count more than contents, it is refreshing to see that bands still dare to release a classical double-album. “Hierophant” are two parts, “The Black Dragon” and “The White Dragon”, and each one has a typical album length. “The Black Dragon” has a grim start introduced by the strings transitioning into devastating guitar riffs at mid-tempo where the melodies have a lot of oriental vibes. The male vocals are growls around the medium end of the guttural range. The female vocals are clean and support the main vocals at times. “Curse Of Desert” is a crushing Death Metal track with symphonic elements including choir support. The orientally inspired Death Metal carnage continues with “Let The Fire Speak”, but at a measured pace and a stomping rhythm. It is a head-banger throughout, where orchestrations take over right at the end of the track. “I Proudly March To Die” is a Folk inspired track where the symphonic elements and the choir are at full swing supporting the acoustic guitars. It is the first time that female vocalist Cynthia Marciniak takes center stage with mostly highly pitched vocal lines. The track is building up tension slowly and transforms from the Folk song via the symphonic elements to an epic symphonic Death Metal track, where the guitar riffing and the growls take over. “War Is War” is a pummeling track with tight guitar riffing at blistering pace including blast-beat attacks and spine-chilling melodies. It is a Death Metal carnage where orchestrations and choir support are only added during the break introducing the lead guitar solo.


Carnal Legacy” slows down a little bit, but it comes with thunderous riffing at a measured tempo. The track shows the epic side of the album as it comes with more bombastic orchestrations. “Carnal Legacy” is a mixture of crushing Death Metal parts and the orchestral driven epic parts. Highlight of the track is the contributing lead guitar solo. “Under My Stigmata” is a powerful mid-tempo track, which combines all elements of the SANGDRAGON sound, kept together by a blood-freezing melodic framework. The track has been released as video and the YouTube link is provided below. “The Black Dragon” closes with “Frozen Fear”, which has a Folk inspired start with an extended instrumental pre-lude. It transitions into a mid-tempo track led the guitar riffing, the growling vocals, and the bouzouki. Characteristically for the SANGDRAGON sound is the slow building up of many tracks and “Frozen Fear” is the best example for that. What has been starting as a Folk Metal song turns into a Death Metal blast at crazy speed towards the end.


While “The Black Dragon” has been a hammering Death Metal attack for most of the time, “The White Dragon” is its counterpart. The tracks on the album are mostly based on traditional and Folk music. “Cernunnos” has a mixture of traditional elements, driven by the acoustic guitars, the bouzouki, and the female vocals which gives the track the Middle Eastern vibes. It is one of the album highlights and a great way to open the second part “The White Dragon”. The Folk vibes continue with “Winged Blade”. The track has a quiet start with the acoustic guitars and as time goes by the orchestrations become more and more central and add some bombastic elements to the track. It is mainly an instrumentally driven track, with the female vocals contributing just partially to the track. “Behind The Mist” is a quiet Folk song led by the acoustic guitars and the vocals. One of the highlights of “The White Dragon” is “Tvern”. It is a dynamic traditional song with the guitars, the drums, and the growling vocals are the main contributing elements. The vocals have background vocal support for the chorus parts.


Majesty” provides a change in the sound as it is an orchestral track with grim melodies led by the strings, the brass, and the choir. While most parts of “Majesty” were epic and bombastic, “Snow” is a quiet traditional song, driven by the violin and the acoustic guitars. It is a relatively short instrumental track, transporting a melancholic atmosphere to the listener. “Sweet Frozen Fear” continues with the traditional vibes as it is more of a classical Folk song. Most notably, the track is also a very short affair, but with clean male vocals near the end of the track. “The White Dragon” finishes with “Back To Elysium”, which is a quiet song, driven by the acoustic guitars and orchestral arrangements in the background. Both vocalists contribute with the clean male vocals being the main contributor while the female vocals deliver support. As time goes by, the strings become more important for the melodic framework. It is with almost nine minutes the longest album track and a perfect finale of the double-album.


SANGDRAGON deliver an unusual album in many aspects. “Hierophant” combines elements of symphonic Metal, symphonic Death Metal, and Folk Metal comprised on two albums, where “The Black Dragon” is the counterpart of “The White Dragon”, and yet, both parts together define the sound of SANGDRAGON. “Hierophant” is a concept, and it contains 15 tracks, which are the result of excellent songwriting. The album is well produced. “Hierophant” is an album for symphonic Death Metal fans that are not afraid to cross genre boundaries. You will either love the album or not. If you love it, “Hierophant” will not let you go.

10 / 10









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"Hierophant" Track-listing:

Disc 1 – The Black Dragon

  1. Curse Of Desert
  2. Let The Fire Speak
  3. I Proudly March To Die
  4. War Is War
  5. Carnal Legacy
  6. Under My Stigmata
  7. Frozen Fear


Disc 2 – The White Dragon

  1. Cernunnos
  2. Winged Blade (Med’ Version)
  3.  Behind The Mist
  4. Tvern
  5. Majesty
  6. Snow
  7. Sweet Frozen Fear
  8. Back To Elysium


Sangdragon Lineup:

Lord Vincent Akhenaton – Vocals, Bouzouki

Cynthia Marciniak – Vocals

Florian Iochem – Guitars

Edouard Verneret – Keyboards

Leo Mouchonay – Drums

Will Hien – Bass, Vocals

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