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Hanging Garden - At Every Door (Lifeforce Records)

By: David E. Gehlke

[8.5/10] It’s easy for some of us on the Blistering staff to go into full-coddle (or possibly even “cuddle”) mode for a band like Finland’s Hanging Garden. You see, for any drip-drop that comes from the melodic doom and/or death tree, usually finds a few of us with our mouths open, ready to imbibe in music that is fitting for a funeral procession, without sounding like it was recorded at half-speed (see: funeral doom). Hanging Garden fits the melodic Goth doom tag rather aptly, and on their third full-length At Every Door, appear to be poised to find themselves in the same capacity as Swallow the Sun, Daylight Dies, and Ghost Brigade.

Like their contemporaries, Hanging Garden operates with similar restraint and care. Care, as in finding the right nook for a melody or clean chorus (“Wormwood”), while staying true to the sullen cause. And man, there are some sullen moments here, most of which don’t fail to rock, like opener “Ten Thousand Cranes” swaggers down the runway with billowing keyboards some understated, some ready to pinwheel ala Slumber’s Fallout. Regardless, the song’s crispness recalls Draconian Times-era Paradise Lost, albeit with less commercial flair.

The dreary, there’s-no-way-I’m-leaving-the-house-and-or-bedroom moments come in full force on “Hegira,” which revels in spoken word moments and processed drums ala current Katatonia. “The Cure” shimmers the brightest, though, a crestfallen number that benefits greatly from the dual-vocal interplay of Toni Toivonen, who has an ample bark, along with a clean vocal array that is suitably serene. Album closer “To End All Ages” hits up those barren moments of space, where feedback-drenched guitars intertwine with layered keyboards, adding up to a fantastic climax.

An album that should enjoy the comforts of variance and mood, At Every Door is to this point, Hanging Garden’s breakout moment. They timed it rather well, with stock in this style at an all-time high. Given that misery loves company with this crowd, it can’t hurt to have another join the wrist-slitting party, right?

 Hanging Garden official site

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