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HANGING GARDEN - The Garden cover
3.00 | 1 rating | 1 review
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Album · 2023


1. The Garden (06:37)
2. The Four Winds (04:03)
3. The Construct (03:33)
4. The Song of Spring (05:21)
5. The Fire at First Dawn (04:28)
6. The Nightfall (03:53)
7. The Stolen Fire (05:05)
8. The Journey (04:31)
9. The Derelict Bay (02:12)
10. The Fireside (03:43)
11. The Resolute (04:59

Total Time 48:25


- Mikko Kolari / Guitars
- Jussi Hämäläinen / Guitars, Vocals
- Nino Hynninen / Keyboards, Piano
- Antti Ruokola / Drums
- Toni Hatakka / Vocals
- Jussi Kirves / Bass
- Riikka Hatakka / Vocals

About this release

Mixed & mastered at D-Studio.

Thanks to lukretion for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Hanging Garden, the melodic doomsters hailing from Finland, have been on a creative roll lately, releasing three new records in less than 24 months. Following their 2021 full-length Skeleton Lake, the band released the EP Neither Moth nor Rust in early 2022. Now, they are back with their eight full-length record titled The Garden. As the album’s near self-title suggests, the band envisioned it as a sort of magnum opus encapsulating the quintessence of their musicality, constantly balanced between light and darkness, melody and heaviness. Without further delay, let’s then enter The Garden and discover the treasures that lie within.

Right from the start, the title-track sets the perfect ambience for the record that we have come to expect from Hanging Garden. The tempo is slow-paced, with the drums locked in a barren pattern of kick/snare and open/closed hi-hat notes that remains mostly constant throughout the track, emphasizing its plumbeous atmosphere. A slowly downpicked rhythm guitar adds to the gloomy vibe, while the lead guitar and keyboards provide contrast by weaving in slow, melancholic melodies and dreamy textures. The same interplay of light and dark is achieved through the layered vocal arrangements. Riikka Hatakka provides soothing, ethereal vocals, while her brother Toni Hatakka alternates between languid cleans and cavernous growls. The song structure is fluid, loosely based on recurring themes but without the predictable alternation between rigidly-defined verses and chorus. It’s a complex, dynamic, multi-layered composition that envelopes the listener with a thick blanket of melancholy, while offering lingering rays of light and hope. This evokes the same type of mellow, soul-piercing atmosphere we may find in the music of bands like Swallow the Sun or (for those who remember them) early EverEve.

Hanging Garden maintain this delicate balance throughout the album, gradually incorporating additional influences into their artistic palette. Songs such as “The Construct” and “The Nightfall” pay homage to Type O Negative, with clean vocals reminiscent of Peter Steele, while “The Song of Spring” and “The Fire at First Dawn” delve further into gothic atmospheres with a touch of Paradise Lost and Anathema. In other tracks, the extreme metal influences become more prominent, nudging the music towards the territory of melodic death metal (Insomnium and Dark Tranquillity, in particular). Overall, compared to their previous record Skeleton Lake, Hanging Garden seem to have shed some of the catchy gothic gimmicks in favor of a sound that is both heavier and more atmospheric.

Although The Garden’s 11 songs create pleasant soundscapes, the album still falls short of escaping the same pitfalls found in the band’s previous work. At 48 minutes of length, the lack of variation in pace, structure and ambience can be a drag. This is particularly noticeable in the mellower mid-section of the LP, where tracks between “The Fire at First Dawn” and “The Journey” tend to blur together, lacking strongly distinctive elements that differentiate them. Partly, this also reflects the band’s tendency to frontload their albums, which was also the case with the previous LP. The opening four songs contain the most inspired material, and listeners have to wait until the closing track “The Resolute” to experience the same strong response triggered in the first 20 minutes of the LP. However, even at its best, it’s hard to ignore the feeling that The Garden stays always too close to its influences, particularly Swallow the Sun. With around 50/60 new metal albums released each week, creative personality and originality are crucial to stand out from the crowd, and Hanging Garden fall somewhat short in this respect.

Overall, The Garden is an album that simmers rather than erupts, relying on its overall cinematic atmosphere to convey its beauty instead of catchy tunes that immediately grab you. While it may not reach the magnum opus status the band intended, it remains a strong example of melodic gothic doom/death metal that will no doubt please fans of Hanging Garden as well as other bands mentioned in this review.

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

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