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Hanging Garden – I Am Become

Hanging Garden
I Am Become
by Jose MaCall at 12 October 2017, 10:05 AM

A tiny bit of precipitation can be welcome. Sure rainfall is nice, but is a downpour too much? When does a storm become a monsoon? When does snowfall become a blizzard? When does sadness become depression? It’s hard to say but this week’s review is something channeling those feelings into something dreary yet enjoyable. I’m talking about “I Am Become” by HANGING GARDEN. What did they become? Is the grammar badly? I’m not a question answerer, so maybe I should stop before I run out of my allotted question marks.

On the album cover we see someone who appears to be lying down and possibly turning into smoke. Though probably some sort of visual allegory for dreaming or dying, either way this person needs help! I may need to turn down my natural instinct to goof off and mock stuff for this review as it’s quite a downer. Not in a bad way, just as far as moods go, this was a much muted, somber affair.

“I Am Become” is a melancholic, ethereal voyage. There’s haunting clean vocals that venture into straight Death Metal growls and flow back into a somber harmony. Clean vocals aren’t out of the ordinary in Doom Metal and its variants and they work very well here to lend a sense of tranquility to an album that is subtle yet heavy. It was a little too sing-songy for me, but not bad by any means. The riffs are solid albeit a little more upbeat than a typical Doom release. They are melodic but still moody. There were some decent leads sprinkled in throughout songs as well.

This is music that fits snowfall and cloud cover. It’s more in the realm of gloom and reflection than straight neck wrecking. It’s also not a straight slow crusher; this isn’t a suffocating heaviness that bears down on the soul. It’s a sluggish yet airy gallows march that is also infused with Rock-ish elements to soften the blow. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

There is a lot of clear production throughout the album and it sounds great though a bit more grit would’ve been welcome, especially for the mellow mood this album keeps trying to set. The Death Metal growls would have benefited from some more grinding, raw guitar tones or some gurgling bass. Some keyboard or electronic elements are also present in this band’s sound but they are fortunately not overdone. No 8-bit damsel-saving music to be found here.

Overall, I’d say this is an album to pick up if you’re a gloomy Gus. It’s very downtrodden and slow, it’s mellow to a level that feels like mourning. The clean vocals can be a deterrent; however there are several more guttural monster growls to be found throughout. I can’t say this is one I’d be playing on the regular; it’s especially not something you jam in a car full of people to rock out to. This to me felt like a solo affair for a specific mindset. This is an album you dig on while taking some time to clear your head during a long walk. It’s grey skies and misty breath, long drives and dying daylight, it’s a solemn trip through the mind with a leaning towards, this may not be the exact word, but hopefulness? As opposed to a straight negative toned DSBM album or the more pure condemned feeling some Doom Metal releases can be. Still worth checking out if you’re into embracing your slowly-fleeting mortality.

Bands of some musical relation: SPACE SLUG, CANDLEMASS, ALTAR OF OBLIVION, OPETH, CYNIC, STONE CIRCLE, MOURNFUL CONGREGATION, NEUROSIS


Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. As Above, So Below
2. Hearthfire
3. Elysium
4. Our Dark Design
5. Kouta
6. From Iron Shores
7. One Hundred Years
8. Forty One Breaths
9. Ennen
Lineup:
Mikko Kolari - Guitar
Jussi Hämäläinen - Guitar
Nino Hynninen - Keyboards
Toni Toivonen - Vocals
Jussi Kirves - Bass
Sami Forsstén – Drums
Record Label: Lifeforce Records
     


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Edited 18 October 2017
 

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