Another one of those albums that I bought blind in response to an enthusiastic review (or even, as was the case here, an interview) in the metal press. I don't learn from my mistakes: With such buys I always end up a bit disappointed because my expectations are simply too high.

Gardens of Shadow can be compared to Sins of Thy Beloved's debut album, only without a soprano. There is a very deep grunt throughout the album, and on one track ("Twilight Odyssey") there is actually some vocal singing to be found. The album starts off in a vein much like some of the epic "war metal" bands from Greece (Nightfall, Septic Flesh); fast drumming, deep grunt, and a constant guitar melody playing. That way, the album leaves a very good impression. The title track, as well as "Citadel of Dreams" and "Into Infinity", are long-spun tracks with many a sonic surprise for the listener. After those tracks, however, the album gradually begins to slacken. I will very likely give this CD quite a few turns in the ol' CD player, but it's not an album I'll be coming back to for years.



Written January 2001


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