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Garden - Garden CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.82 | 3 ratings

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Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars Garden are a relatively new band, coming out of Scotland and released their first self-titled EP in December 2012 via their bandcamp page. Whilst categorised, and self-promoted, as progressive metal, the music of Garden uses progressive metal only as a basis to express the versatility and variety of influences of their music.

'Garden' is a 3-track EP of less than half an hour with average track duration of 9 minutes. During these 27 or so minutes, elements of folk, jazz, eclectic, orchestral progressive music come to surface via a progressive metal guitar driven background. Simply "symphonic progressive metal" would be an unfair tag to describe the Celtic sounds and the use of an almost full orchestra comprising mandolin, flute, violin, cello, clarinet etc.

"Composite Queen" is the opener of this short EP and, in my opinion, it is the highlight and shows what this band can achieve. An ultimately lyrical, eclectic and dynamic track, incorporating a very theatrical singing pattern (reminding of Arcturus at times) and accompanied by constant piano and violin power chords. Midway through the folksy influences appear in the form of a beautiful flute solo building to a power/progressive metal tune. "North" is quite more down-tempo, melodic and dramatic, very reminiscent of Shadow Gallery's best moments with Mike Baker on vocals. Half-way through it turns to a more eclectic/symphonic prog piece in the vein of Anglagard, while the saxophone solo introduces a more melancholic atmosphere. "Freya's Song" kicks off with a guitar/violin duet and in due course mixes all the above elements with a full blast of orchestral instruments and Bradley singing in the most intense manner.

The compositional element of this EP reaches perfection: a plethora of influences, instruments and sounds combined in a very intense manner (at times even overwhelming for the listener), producing a very original sound, even though the influences are recognisable. Where the album lacks is mainly the production (mixing of instruments and drum sound problematic), and also the execution of vocal lines and complex structures - I feel that at times, Garden have made the compositions too challenging to execute, without implying that they are not capable of doing so. Bearing in mind these flaws, I can still say that this EP is a challenging and intriguing experience for any prog music fan. This is really unique prog music and 4 stars are deserved. Watch this space.

aapatsos | 4/5 |


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