A slow, doom-laden journey of beauty
Who'd have thought that members from dark rock act Shamrain (Matti Reinola) and thrashing death metal band Dauntless (Ari Nieminen) would come together and form a band like Hanging Garden? Talk about your polar opposites! But that's exactly what did happen when vocalist Nieminen and bassist/keyboardist Reinola joined forces and asked drummer Janne Jukarainen into the fold as well. The line-up was eventually fleshed out with the addition of guitarists Mikko Kolari and Saku Manninen, and some two years after initially coming together, Hanging Garden have finally released their effort dubbed Inherit The Eden.
The slow, sombre gothic doom metal opening cut, Sleep Of Ages, reminds me of Swallow The Sun and bands of that ilk, with the dark atmosphere created by not only Nieminen's vocals but also Reinola's keyboards as well. It's a trend that continues with the plodding As The Circle Fades, which sees the guitars taking a bigger role this time around in providing some of the melodic textures throughout. After the acoustic guitar and keyboards only gentle interlude Ethereal Passing is done, a stark up beat double kick lead tempo ushers in Shards Of Life in which Reinola's keyboards loudly take centre stage. Once the tempo drops, the dark sounds of Hanging Garden's guitars ring through true to form leading the track into passages of true haunting beauty towards the end.
Building slowing in the same way as the opening two cuts did, Paper Doves also shares a similar, slow tempo with them as well, but as that's the bands' modus operandi, it should be of no surprise. Having said that, the track does take a new lease on life when the pace picks up at the three minute mark. Stillborn is a just under four minute, solemn sounding instrumental that reinforces the mood before the almost funeral doom pace of The Mourners Plain commences. It's a slow journey but an engrossing one none the less, before the album's longest track, the equally slow Fall Into Tehom, brings the album to a close.
Hanging Garden haven't redefined the genre with Inherit The Eden, but they have put together a solid and enjoyable slab of doom metal that should definitely be on the shopping list for fans of bands like Swallow The Sun.
(Spikefarm Records/Riot! Distribution)