Review Summary: At Every Door is a trademark Finnish death/doom metal record
Hanging Garden isn’t a band that likes to sound the same from record to record. Their debut album, titled Inherit The Eden
, was a solid slab of accessible doom metal that exhibited great musicianship and melodicism. On their follow-up, TEOTWAWKI
, the band flirted with post-metal to mixed results. The change in vocals (from a deep growl to a post-metal-like raspy shout) was generally poorly received, though it was clear Hanging Garden still have their songwriting chops. Now, on their third studio album, titled At Every Door
, the band has opted to accentuate the role of gothic melodies that were seen (in smaller capacity) on Inherit The Eden
, while still holding on to their doom roots. The end result is an album that one would most absolutely expect from a Finnish death/doom metal band: a familiar-sounding, slow-to-mid-tempo blend of deep growls and somber melodies that can be enjoyable to both veterans and newcomers to the genre.
Basing the comparison purely on At Every Door
, without taking the band’s earlier records into consideration, there isn’t much Hanging Garden give us to differentiate the album from the output of fellow Finnish bands like Black Sun Aeon, Dark The Suns, Routasielu, Swallow The Sun etc. That, though, doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t a worthy album. Like mentioned above, and in my review for Black Sun Aeon’s latest, Finnish death/doom groups have this seasoned, inviting atmosphere to their records which pulls listeners in and forces them to check out further albums from these groups that all sound very similar to each other. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a massive lure stone for melody-loving metalheads hidden somewhere in Finland, because it’s almost ridiculous how bands like Hanging Garden always manage to sound appealing. If you’re looking for something unique from At Every Door
, it’s best to stop reading now, because it’s melody-driven doom metal that has been done a thousand times before, but if somber melodies and wintery atmospheres are your forte, then look no further.
Musically and compositionally the album is yet another success for the band. The backing, low-tuned walls of sound (when they are in use) help emphasize the sorrowful melodies while giving added depth to the overall compositions. Hanging Garden are at their best when the backing wall of sound is penetrated by multiple various melodies that also fit together well, best exhibited in the album’s opener "Ten Thousand Cranes". Instrumentally softer breaks/tracks ("At Every Door") add diversity to the record and when it comes to the ever-present melodic guitar lines, they carry with them a constant melancholic aura, but do so in a way that they can also be called beautiful. Hanging Garden’s style of doom metal is not akin to utterly forceful and dark doom acts (think: Evoken, Loss, Esoteric), but it still carries with it the basic aesthetics of the genre of doom metal and is sure to express gloom and despondency, just not by the way of death-dark atmospheres, but through melancholic melodies and passages. At Every Door
might not be much more than another death/doom album that has the instantly recognizable Finnish trademark sound to it, but damn me if that isn’t one memorable sound.
As long as the listener knows Hanging Garden are a death/doom metal band from Finland, he should already envision what he’s getting with At Every Door
. „Lush melancholic melodies“ are the keywords that apply to this record and even though it doesn’t exactly surprise us with anything, after the last tribal drum beats of "To End All Ages" have ran its course, a sense of contentment (with the record) can be felt. Hanging Garden aren’t necessarily playing it safe by releasing an album that doesn’t set them apart from the pack; they are just playing to their strengths, as in its niche the album is a very enjoyable piece of music.