Hanging Garden – Into That Good Night (Lifeforce)Sunday, 17th November 2019
Given that a lot of us writer-types will be in full reflection mode as 2019 and the decade wind down, albums like Hanging Garden’s excellent 2013 At Every Door will come back into view. A hearty, thoroughly melancholic dive into the Finnish death-doom tropes, At Every Door served as both the highwater mark and career turning point for Hanging Garden. The band could have easily bled the sound of At Every Door dry with subsequent releases, but instead, they stumbled a bit with 2015’s ineffective Blackout Whiteout. While the Finns made some inroads with 2017’s I Am Become, they are just all the way back with Into That Good Night.
Doom has been taken out of the band’s sound, replaced by a post-metal-like feel, just without the meandering tempos. What Hanging Garden does best — carefully-crafted melodies, uplifting clean vocal chorus — come early and often here, with opener “Of Love and Curses” as well as “Fear, Longing, Hope and the Night” demonstrating plenty of dark metal breadth and intrigue. The album’s best moment is the title track where lush chords, the aforementioned guitar melodies, and a cracking chorus pretty much sum up everything Hanging Garden does well circa 2019. (Love the piano outro, too.)
The rest of Into That Good Night, however, doesn’t quite move the needle as much, although you’d be hard-pressed to find a better female-sung cut than “Navigator,” which is how The Gathering may sound had they decided to stick with metal all along. Nevertheless, Into That Good Night is largely satisfying, chock-full of those lush, swooning melancholic metal moments that can only come from Finland.