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Memory Garden : Tides

With this release Memory Garden brought the sound of Impellitteri, Helloween, and Morgana Lefay into the realm of doom metal, and now it is time for its re-release.

'tIDes' was the first full-length by Memory Garden. It saw the light of day in 1996, and thirteen years later Vic Records decided to honor this happening by giving it a re-release. The band has so far existed in the shadow of other Swedish bands with an epic take on doom metal: Candlemass, Count Raven, and Krux to name a few. But Memory Garden did not follow the same path as them, heeding a path which leads to a purer doom/power metal mixture and only low doses of traditional doom metal influences. Perhaps this re-release will help shed some light onto this alternative path? For the sake of the band I hope so.

The voice of Stefan Berglund are powerful, bright and clean. I am strongly reminded of Andi Deris, of Helloween fame, when I hear them. Fittingly the music also hold much common ground with Helloween's slower works. Likewise I would also namedrop Impellitteri, especially during the faster sections; and Morgana Lefay, who's tormented sound can be found in most songs on this album. Actually, I would rather describe this album as tormented than epic. The power of the chugging riffage is countered with slightly wailing vocals and weeping guitars, which puts the mood into a gloomy state appropriate for the doom genre.

Personally, I am ambivalent towards this release. Most tracks are great, but not all. And it is those which I do not enjoy whose alternative versions feature as bonus tracks on the re-release. I know this is just me, because those tracks remind me of popular tracks by the aforementioned three bands, and I can't stand those tracks either. My issue is with the hyper-repetitivity of, in my humble opinion, not very interesting secions. You can probably see why this gets on my nerves when this is repeated again during the bonus tracks.

The only other Memory Garden release I've heard is 'Carnage Carnival', and it is my opinion that 'tIDes' do not hold as high as standard. Nevertheless, this is far from a bad album. Especially those who enjoy the doomier Morgana Lefay tracks (e.g. 'Battle of Evermore' and 'Valley of the Oaks') would surely enjoy this. This is a skilled band who contemporary reviewers would have called 'promising' back when it was first released.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. gENEsis
2. dREAm HORIzons
3. tHE RHymE OF tHE ELDer
4. tRAPpeD AT The pHARaoes
5. jUDGEmenT DAy
6. tHE INnocENT Sleep
7. a NEW daWn
8. bLISsfull
9. tHE RHymE OF tHE ELDer (demo recording) [bonus track]
10. gENEsis (rehearsal recording) [bonus track] *
11. A daRk EmBRAcE (demo recording) [bonus track] *

* These tracks are incorrectly labeled on the cover - the correct labels would have been:
10. tHE INnocENT Sleep (demo recording)
11. gENEsis (rehearsal recording)

Duration : Approx. 60 minutes

Visit the Memory Garden bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-03-17 by Arnstein H. Pettersen
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