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Hanging Garden - Into that Good Night Award winner

Hanging Garden
Into the Good Night
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 17 October 2019, 4:57 AM

HANGING GARDEN is a Finnish Doom Metal band formed in 2004.  Through the years they have survived through numerous lineup changes but guitarist Mikko Kolari has been the band’s one constant.   Although not a founding member, he is the only member of the band who has appeared on every full -ength album.   Their latest, “Into That Good Night,” marks their sixth opus.

With it being one of my most favorite sub genres of Metal, Doom is something I pay close to attention to but, alas, there are just some things that slip my grasp.  Although I’ve heard their name for years, this is the first time I’m actually hearing their music.  I know, I know…so many bands, so little time.  After listening to “Into That Good Night,” many times, it is safe to say that I will being making regular time for this amazing band.   From the first note, to the last, this album kept me engaged with its instrumentation, atmospheric approach and variety in vocals.

The overall style of the album is across the spectrum of the Doom world but a heavy Gothic feel permeates the mood.  The album’s theme is the downward spiral that the human race seems to be racing towards—the band definitely pulls off a sound that is entrenched in sorrow, regret, loss, and hopelessness. Is this our fate?  Will we go quietly into the night?  This album is physiologically heavy and asks a lot of the listener.  Thinking man’s Doom?

Production wise, the album is close enough to perfect.  The band is comprised of seven members and most of them are used to the fullest—it is a robust album that sounds so clear but doesn’t make the sound too loud or too thin. Guitarists Mikko and Jussi begin this forty-five minute opus with thick riffs that hit like waves crashing against rocks on “Of Love and Curses.”  The riffs have a classic, traditional based approach to Doom but also feature a fine balance between melody, clean atmosphere, and crushing notes.  Toni’s vocals are demonic but full of energy and variety—deep growls fine their home alongside higher pitched screams and cleans that can be both soothing and rough.

Fear, Longing, Hope and the Night,” wastes no time working the melodic guitars in with the vocals, a one two punch that compliments each other’s style.  Despite being near seven minutes in length, the song flows extremely well to the point where it moves beyond a standard piece of music to a sort of emotional journey.  The alternating approach of both of the guitars and vocals gong from heavy to melodic shows off how dynamic the band is. Nino uses synth to capture the magic of “Rain” right away, as does Jussi’s bass.  These two play off each other well, creating the perfect mood and musical back drop for Riikka beautiful voice—I wish she was featured more prominently on the album as her voice fits the style of HANGING GARDEN perfectly.  In between the verses, Sami really brings the hammer down but tones it down when needed; his drums are as versatile as anything I’ve heard in Doom this year—he knows when or when not to bring about an intense performance.  “Rain” has one of the best choruses on the album and also ending—I loved the coda of music that finishes the song along with the spoken word vocals.

The album finishes strongly with “Signs of Affection,” a track where layered vocals from both singers set the mood to more ambient and Gothic vibes—the clean instruments in the song’s beginning, along with the subtle synths, just add to the layered atmosphere. Toni gives one hell of a performance with his growls—pure emotion.  HANGING GARDEN has crafted a somber yet aggressive album that channels a whirlwind of emotions through a stunning grasp on how to make Doom Metal exciting, interesting, catchy, expansive, and just fucking great.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.  Of Love and Curses
2. Fear, Longing, Hope and the Night
3. Into That Good Night
4. Rain
5. Silent Sentinels
6. Anamnesis
7. Navigator
8. Signs of Affection
Lineup:
Toni Toivonen – Vocals
Jussi Hamalainen – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Mikko Kolari – Guitars
Jussi Kirves – Bass, Moog
Nino Hynninen – Synths
Sami Forssten – Drums
Riikka Hatakka - Vocals
Record Label: Lifeforce Records
     


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