Hanging Garden - The Garden review
|Release date:||March 2023|
01. The Garden
02. The Four Winds
03. The Construct
04. The Song Of Spring
05. The Fire At First Dawn
06. The Nightfall
07. The Stolen Fire
08. The Journey
09. The Derelict Bay
10. The Fireside
11. The Resolute
What's in a dream? Beyond the physical plane, could it be a world to escape our own time-construct to explore other dimensions? Or is it just our garden, the cradle of our souls? Hanging Garden's The Garden is here to help our journey towards an elusive truth. This is already album number eight for the Finnish band who are not afraid to evolve. Ever since they have shifted to a more melodic contemporary sound every release has been consistently delivering innovative elements with high replay values. I see their potential as limitless.
I discovered this band through YouTube videos of their two Backwoods Sessions EPs a few years ago. Needless to say, they have become one of my favorite bands ever since. There is a hypnotic progression to their sound that reminds me of greats such as Anathema or Katatonia, even though this is more akin musically to Swallow The Sun, or to Draconian with the duetting male-female vocals. And while the wonderful duo of previous albums Into The Good Night and Skeleton Lake had already paved the way to a more contemporary sound, I was not 100% sure what the expect with The Garden.
To cut to the chase, the result is impressive. This is likely their most comprehensive offering. Hanging Garden perform as a tight unit through and through, underlined by the record production of their very own Jussi Hämäläinen. Some electronica influences can be heard creeping into the mix for additional diversification here and there. All the while, Jussi, Toni and Riikka are nailing vocals in harmony over a mid-tempo clockwork of memorable melodies and some well-crafted moments of pure magic. Riikka vocals on a few songs actually remind me of the golden era of Theatre Of Tragedy.
Operating across several genres from gothic to melodeath, the cloak of melancholy and the bursts of hope rival perfectly throughout the album. I could point out some of the highlights such as Paradise Lost's influence on "The Construct" (era Draconian Times), the almost Depeche Mode bridge on "The Song of Spring", or the humming choir on "The Stolen Fire". But at this point, everything I could come up with would be a disservice to the sonic joy that is The Garden.
At the crossroads to greatness, halfway between Draconian and Katatonia, The Garden impresses both by its musical variation and consistent quality. This one is definitely on the softer, art side of metal. So some will find this dragging a bit or lacking hooks if expecting full-blitz music. Touted as a very personal record that came partially through a dream, it does indeed have that dream-like quality. Hanging Garden have managed to transcribe their vision into dark yet hopeful music, and for that alone they deserve your attention. When a band invest so much into their work, it does comes through as art. What a beautiful dreamscape this is.
Written on 26.03.2023 by
"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"
I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.
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