Hanging Garden


Written by: EW on 29/12/2009 16:39:50

Finland's Hanging Garden, with their sophomore effort "TEOTWAWKI" (or more succinctly "The End Of The World As We Know It"), introduce themselves to me in a manner different from a number of their melodically inclined northern Scandinavian brothers whom I have reviewed on record and live performance in recent times. I'd never heard of these guys before, nor any of the mandatory side-projects/ex-bands that litter their entry on Metal Archives, so I'm pleasantly surprised by the Cult of Luna and Neurosis influence that has found it's way onto the record but also wary of why they might still be an unknown quantity. Let's not forget however how instantly recognisable most Finnish metal bands/albums are, so in such a respect we instantly have Hanging Garden on an altogether more doomy pegging.

"TEOTWAWKI" has been given the unusual pleasure from me of being listened to every so often over a good number of weeks, not a strategy I can afford to give most albums I review. This entirely accidental tactic has on the plus side allowed their sound and aesthetic to gestate within me between listens, but on the downside I haven't exactly been pining to spin "TEOTWAWKI" again after a weeks’ separation. This opinion however does not take away from the all-round professionalism and consummate song-writing tenacity exhibited in tracks like "Hands That Decay" and "Inherit The Eden" which scratch along not entirely dissimilarly to Cult of Luna's methods on last year's excellent "Eternal Kingdom". The tempos found within each song are a frequently changing with the highlight of all these transitions being that found two-thirds through "Hands The Decay" where slow meets fast in as natural a way could be possibly conceived, giving the song a nice earthly and contented feel. Not satisfied with being a mere one-trick pony Hanging Garden have made sure to deploy a significant dollop of keyboards/organ influence gently across the album (see "Oceans Away"), which if you're anything like me and found the sorrow-drenched organs of Abandon's recent effort so captivating will surely pique your interests this time around.

Hanging Garden by no means plummet the depths of human emotion quite like Abandon did on their brilliant (have I already said that?) album but to dismiss the doom element of "TEOTWAWKI" would be foolish. Infact, these guys could be fairly accurately described as a cross between fellow more typical doom/death Finns Insomnium and Swallow the Sun and the post-metal sonic maze of Neurosis, Cult of Luna and the likes. To describe closer "Inherit The Eden" as one of my favourites reveals the doom fanatic within me; I have never had a problem with the doomed-tempo of Cult of Luna et al, but the more traditional doom in this downbeat closer instantly rouses my interest more, and thus ends the album on a high in the eyes of this reviewer. Simply put there is no bad, disappointing or downright unacceptable element to be found on "TEOTWAWKI", but on the other hand it doesn't deviate from the tempo of more established bands in their field enough to make a brilliant and different listen. I would imagine that like Minsk proved in this field earlier in the year, a good Neurosis-derived album can often make a great Neurosis-derived live performance.

Download: Inherit The Eden, Hands That Decay, Where Serpents Dwell
For The Fans Of: Cult Of Luna, Neurosis, Minsk, Insomnium
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 11.11.2009
Spikefarm Records

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