Memory Garden

Memory Garden

Mirage

Metal Blade

If these ears weren’t so well-versed with Solitude Aeturnus (particularly their first two albums, Into the Depths of Sorrow and Beyond the Crimson Horizon), then I would swear that Memory Garden’s Mirage could’ve been the lost album the Texas doom-meisters never unleashed on the cold-shouldered public. But seeing how Solitude Aeturnus have sadly floundered in obscurity during the past decade, it’s comforting to find metal of this variety • gothic more in content, doom more in form, stately yet sorrowful all the while • landing its way onto a label as high-profile as Metal Blade (go, Brian Slagel!). Mirage, Memory Garden’s third full-length proper, is as timeless as it is outside the boundaries of time, finding spiritual kin in ’80s Trouble and Candlemass, which certainly makes sense with the latter considering the quintet hails from Sweden, and more so, vocalist Stefan Berglund’s strong semblance to the ‘mass’s mighty Messiah Marcolin. And as far as metal (modern or otherwise) goes, Memory Garden amass an elegant air that, for as Euro as it sounds, evades prissiness due to its elephantine grooves, ones that aren’t necessarily funky as they are roiling and steamrollering, guitarists Anders Looström and Simon Johansson juggling the melodic and the harmonic, chugging away to mid-tempos that are slow enough to evoke the desired (sad) effect, fast enough to show they care. Time will tell now, then, who will care about metal of such an elusive caliber•

Metal Blade, 2828 Cochran St., Suite 302, Simi Valley, CA 93065-2793, http://www.metalblade.com

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