Hanging Garden – Hereafter EP (Lifeforce)

Thursday, 15th September 2016
Rating: 8/10

Apparently, it’s in the DNA of every veritably excellent band with Goth/doom tinges to make a non-metal album. The much beloved Paradise Lost started it all way back in 1997 with One Second and the pattern has repeated itself with everyone from Tiamat to The Gathering to Anathema to My Dying Bride to Alcest to Finland’s Hanging Garden. The Finns’ 2015 Blackout Whiteout was devoid of many of the metallic elements that made 2013’s At Every Door so charming. It was, in effect, an experimental album, but as we’ve come to learn with such bands, they usually find a way back home, at least temporarily.

The band’s Hereafter EP is well-thought out jaunt through the band’s entire sonic repertoire—metal included—that brings in several noteworthy guests. Swallow the Sun throat Mikko Kotamäki lends his persuasive roar to “Penumbra” and “Towards the Sun,” the latter a reflective acoustic number that is a hard shot of melancholy. Victor Wegeborn of the underrated The Moth Gatherer spews forth his snarling rasp on “Sirkle of Onan,” a number that would fit snug on Hanging Garden’s TEOTWAWKI album, while October Tide vocalist Alexander Högbom can be found on “Where the Tides Collide,” perhaps the EP’s strongest cut.

A bit of a novel idea, even if the guest appearances may overshadow Hanging Garden’s intended purpose of demonstrating sonic flexibility. Where the Finns will go next is up for debate, but a word to the wise: At Every Door is a gem. Hereafter isn’t too bad, either.

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