Garden of Worm

Shadow Kingdom
rating icon 5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Spirits Of The Dead
02. The Ceremony
03. Rays From Heaven
04. The Black Clouds
05. Psychic Wolves
06. The Alchemist's Dream
07. Hollow

A lot of what makes doom resonate with fans are the feelings created through the monolithic riffs and atmospheric shivers created through melancholic and/or dread-inducing vocals and the lurking rhythms. In that sense, some bands nail it when it comes to the indefinable, you-know-it-when-you-feel-it, vibrations. Those that can't quite locate the sweet spot better make up for it with gripping songwriting, even in a conventional sense. The self-titled full length from (marginally) progressive doomsters GARDEN OF WORM on occasion sufficiently reaches that desired destination in melancholic feel; when that doesn't occur, the act just doesn't have the songwriting oomph to fill the void.

While GARDEN OF WORM attempt a more expansive, some say experimental (on the edges at best) form of doom metal, it never really takes you to any place you'd like to revisit on future cosmic trips. On songs like "Spirits of the Dead" and "Psychic Wolves" waves of mournfulness are produced through the band's frequent contrasts of heavy riffing and light-picking airiness, sometimes approaching the style for which SOLITUDE AETURNUS is known. Though the vocals of bassist SJ Harju (and/or guitarist E.J. Taipaleis who is listed as vocalist as well) are performed in a manner similar to Robert Lowe, he never achieves the same degree of emotional outpouring nor the kind of pinpoint inflectional shifts that can energize a song. However, the CANDLEMASS shades and comparative compositional strength — complete with an up-tempo section of doom stomp around the six-minute mark on "The Black Clouds" offer more meat on the bone on which to feast. The album could stand more of it.

Throughout the 46-minute duration one can begin to appreciate the attempts made by GARDEN OF WORM to navigate just shy of the beaten path and the moodiness of the album has a pleasant ethereal quality to it. Otherwise, the dearth of climaxes and the often water-treading tendency of the tunes can make for a frustrating listen.

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