Updated: Mar 6
Hanging Garden is based out of Helsinki, Finland. Formed in 2004, the band's sound is rooted in doom metal, with flavors of melodeath and gothic metal mixed in. As of 2015, which saw their most recent lineup changes, the only remaining original member of the outfit is guitarist Mikko Kolari, also of atmospheric goth-rockers ShamRain.
Steeped in melancholia, the six-piece's sixth LP, Into That Good Night, is an exercise in stirring, evocative soundscapes, with expressive riffing and soul-rending vocals. In its forty-six minutes, the album dwells in the darkness, even as the rhythm section soars.
The opening track "Of Love and Curses" reminds me of older Lacuna Coil, they way the intro riff chugs on the low B string and the synths and keys support. The guttural vocals sound so clear in their delivery, and the clean vocals fit the mood of the song. "Fear, Longing, Hope, and the Night" adds in a healthy dosage of doom metal, as the synth melodies glide along behind the rest of the rhythm section. The title track is beautiful and brutal all at once, a statement of how metal can be, dare I say should be. The tempo slows from the first two tracks, and the heavier sections come barreling in with huge-sounding guitars. The half-time section around 2:37 is downright bone-crunching with its palm-muted precision riffing.
"Rain" sees a downright lovely harmony, and the interplay of male and female vocals remind me just a little more of Lacuna Coil, though Hanging Garden lies much heavier on the doom/death side of things, as opposed to just gothic metal. "Silent Sentinels" arrives with a hulking opening passage, with a brutally heavy guitar riff powering it along. "Anamnesis" is another stellar offering, with its verse's clean guitar tones somehow sounding almost as heavy as the distorted ones.
"Navigator " let up off the accelerator for a bit, dialing things back with more clean guitars and a laid back drum beat. The closing "Signs of Affection" has more of that wonderful guitar tone, both clean and distorted. It caps off a somber and sobering record, proving that Hanging Garden, even with its lack of consistent lineup, can still deliver great heavy music.
Into That Good Night is available now through Lifeforce Records and the band’s Bandcamp page.