Sweden’s purveyors of Doom Metal return on fine form.
Formed way back in 1992, Memory Garden can hardly be described as new Doomers on the block, this album is actually only the fifth full length release from the band, although you can add a few E.P.’s and mini CD’s to the list as well. It also sees the band return under the welcoming wings of Metal Blade and in my view therein lays an important factor in what makes this album so appealing.
Despite some changes in personnel along the way, the overwhelming feeling of cohesion and togetherness comes across with ’Doomain’ and that, I dare say has a lot to do with returning to Metal Blade.
So, what do we have on offer here you may ask, well, for a start it’s not strictly a Doom genre album, although there are indeed elements of the aforementioned in there, it leans more towards the Progressive and Melodic end of the spectrum as a whole. Songs such as ‘Barren Lands’ still maintain a feeling of desperate struggle and lost hopes, an excellent track that trudges and sludges along, all led by the vocal of Stefan Berglund, who has a voice that can lift and drop the listener at any given moment but balance that against songs such as ‘Violate and Create’ or the superb ‘Latent Lunacy’ and you can instantly see that the band have so much more than Doom to offer.
The guitar work of Simon Johansson and Andreas Mäkelä is a master class in how to produce power and controlled aggression without having to thrash the instrument to death along the way, the title track for example displays this really well, glorious power chords a plenty but still overflowing with melody and emotion, indeed if picking a personal favourite track from the album, this would probably be it. ‘ The King Of The Dead’ is another that deserves singling out, a slightly faster paced affair than others but once again Stefan’s vocals shine through, managing to evoke story telling imagery of long ago tales and far away lands in a way which I found captivating and highly addictive.
As a collection of nine powerful, progressive and melodic tunes, you would be hard pressed to find anything much better on the market right now, the album has been put together in such a way that it is able to flow effortlessly from track to track, each song becoming a single vital cog in the big wheel of Doom. The production sound is exceptionally strong without becoming overbearing, each musician is allowed to reach out to the listener whilst still projecting a feeling of being part of a tight and productive unit. Oh and the album artwork is kick ass as well.
As I said previously, in my view, the album has so much more to offer than a straight forward Doom genre album, although Doom fans (myself included) will still lap it up, it should, and deserves to be heard by a much wider audience. Highly recommended.
Memory Garden are;
Stefan Berglund – Vocals.
Simon Johansson – Lead Guitars.
Andreas Mäkelä – Guitars.
Johan Fredrikson – Bass Guitar.
Tom Björn – Drums.
Out now through Metal Blade Records.