Review Summary: Awaken from slumber...
Colour Haze have taken for granted their role as German stoner/psychedelic/jam rock pioneers during the past decade, leading them into a comfortable slumber with occasional creative sparks. After reaching a dangerous level of commodity on 2014's subpar LP, To the Highest Gods We Know
, the band seems to have kick started the engine once more. As a result, In Her Garden
is a heavier listen, showing signs of life from the first minutes.
Immediately, you'll notice the pace is considerably faster when compared to previous works and the guys focused on creating more concise tunes. For example, 'Black Lily', 'Magnolia' & 'Arbores' are high octane numbers that blend riffs really nice with Stefan Koglek's love for solos. Vocals pop up on 'Black Lily', yet like always they are present to mainly enhance the listen, not to be a main driving force. Also, as you cruise through, you realize how top notch is the bass/drum interplay. They fuse and break from one another without feeling weird or boring, whereas the guitar does its usual magic. I really love the "twangy" fuzz sound the latter has (never underestimate a hollow body guitar), as it became a trademark for Colour Haze.
In between the unnecessary 'Sdg' interludes we find another string of great tunes like 'Islands', 'Labyrinthe' or' Lavatera'. They maintain the overall atmosphere, the first two stretching over 9 minutes. 'Islands' is mostly a jam where Koglek takes off with minutes long solos, before toning town halfway. As he sings, the instruments' volume gradually rises, leaving some really nice melodies to take over the coda. 'Labyrinthe' showcases some interesting guitar licks a la To the Highest Gods We Know
, but it soon breaks into a steady groove that features some chunky bass lines at the base. You can hear hints of previous efforts here, however, they are small inserts only. Towards In Her Garden
's end, Colour Haze maintain things interesting by delivering some catchy numbers, such as 'Skydancer' or 'Lotus'. The piano and violin touches are a plus, since they widen the sonic ranges of these poppier, less distorted cuts. The guys seem rejuvenated mainly because the songs don't drag themselves so slowly anymore without any direction. Moreover, the songwriting feels a lot more inspired even if it isn't anything groundbreaking for them. The final jam, 'Skydance' is a strong one, but unfortunately, after an hour of pummeling epics, it loses impact.
Overall, it's great that In Her Garden
has so much to offer, letting you discover new layers upon repeated listens. Colour Haze are awake after years of what seemed to be a deepening creative low. Gladly, their latest effort brings them back to the scene's forefront as active contributors, not just a veteran act past its prime. Although it could've been trimmed this is a solid entry in such an expansive catalog as well as a good starting point for newcomers.