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Hanging Garden - Blackout Whiteout

Hanging Garden
Blackout Whiteout
by H.P. Buttcraft at 06 September 2015, 11:18 PM

Blackout Whiteout” is the newest album from Finnish progressive Doom Metal band, HANGING GARDEN. This album is the fourth full-length release that HANGING GARDEN has put out since their debut in 2007, “Inherit the Eden”. HANGING GARDEN are, at their core, a Doom Metal band who have some more extreme influences as well, but with “Whiteout Blackout”, their pessimistic worldview gets mixed up with their musical pension for more progressive sounds and melodies. Taken from their press release, this is what their label had to say about the description of their music:

HANGING GARDEN know how to integrate subliminal tendencies to ensnare listeners and to enable them to immerge into graceful, yet emotional darkness of “Blackout Whiteout”.”

From listening to this album, it is very hard to nail down which of the instrumentalists was the main driving force behind the writing process for the music on “Whiteout Blackout”. It’s way too difficult for me to tell which of the members of HANGING GARDEN had come up with the song and on what instrument did they write it. But if I had to make a bet on it, I would say that the string work of guitarists Mikko Kolari, Jussi Hämäläinen and bass player Jussi Kirves are more than likely the main compositionists of these songs.

Although I enjoyed the clean vocals of frontman Toni Toivonen, it certainly seemed like his contributions to these songs were incorporated later on as opposed to the songs revolving around his vocal rhythms and lyrics. The drums sound good but there really isn’t much to speak of about them. The keys from Nino Hynninen seem to be the biggest catalyst to the gloomy and melancholy tone of each and every song. They give HANGING GARDEN a huge post-modern edge that I think pushes their music the hardest beyond the point of mediocrity.

Blackout Whiteout” is a perfect album to accompany JUNIUS’ “Days of the Fallen Sun” and SECRETS OF THE SKY’s album “Pathway”, which came out earlier this year. You will probably be able to draw a lot of similarities between the two albums, particularly between the songs “Borrowed Eyes” (HANGING GARDEN) and “Angel in Vines” (SECRETS OF THE SKY), which almost sound identical to each other. But other than committing borderline plagiarism, the way each band applies thick layers of progressive rock and clean vocals were both equally as refreshing and attractive to the ear.

HANGING GARDEN certainly lean more towards the progressive rock side of things instead of using their passion for heavy music more frequently, almost to the point of sounding like Gothic Rock at times. The singles “Whiteout”, “Aoede”, and “Blackout”, really have no aspects to them that differentiate themselves from any alternative or progressive rock bands operating at this time. They drawn upon influences like TOOL, GHOST, OPETH and PORCUPINE TREE to create their music for “Blackout Whiteout”. And although its scandalous album cover gives a much darker and bleaker perspective as to what the music sounds like, there is still plenty of melody to go around that keep the style of the music from sounding completely dystopian, a la DODHEIMSGARD.

I give “Whiteout Blackout” a high recommendation even though I still don’t feel like I am not all too acquainted with HANGING GARDEN despite numerous listens to this record. My favorite tracks from “Whiteout Blackout” have got to be “Whiteout”, “Words That Bear No Meaning”, “Borrowed Eyes” and “Embers”, so if you were to only give HANGING GARDEN a fleeting moment of your time, invest in listening to these songs.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Borrowed Eyes
2. Whiteout
3. Embers
4. Eclipse
5. Aoede
6. Unearth
7. Words That Bear No Meaning
8. My Rise Is your Fall
9. Blackout
Lineup:
Mikko Kolari - Guitar
Jussi Hämäläinen - Guitar
Nino Hynninen - Keyboards
Jussi Kirves - Bass
Sami Forsstén - Drums
Toni Toivonen - Vocals
Record Label: Lifeforce Records
     


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