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Hanging Garden: Blackout Whiteout

Gloomy, gothic Finns have some second thoughts

After a decade of melodic doom, Finland’s Hanging Garden have decided it’s time to cultivate a new sound.

Many doom elements are still there, along with those lush soundscapes, but new influences of post-metal and shoegaze are now very audible. In fact, the elegant programming on Eclipse sounds like it’s come straight from The Cure’s dreamy Disintegration. Toni Toivonen even reserves his trademark growls only for special moments, such as on Words That Bear No Meaning.

Instead, his clean vocals dominate most of the album, giving it a gothic rock vibe. But the most striking thing isn’t the indulgent guitar passages or those beautiful harmonies: it’s how much it sounds like Paradise Lost.

Hanging Garden’s previous albums took inspiration from Gothic and Draconian Times, but Blackout Whiteout strides into One Second and Symbol Of Life territory. In fact, it’s often easy to forget you’re not listening to Paradise Lost. And that’s how good it is.

Natasha Scharf
Natasha Scharf

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.