Over 20 years since their first demo, Swedish doom veterans Memory Garden have never quite managed to exceed expectations or escape second division status, but their sturdy melodic classicism always produces sincere and competent results.
Skilled labourers rather than genre royalty, perhaps, but doom purists should be warned that most of Doomain is effectively half-speed neo-prog power metal, more Queensrÿche than Candlemass, with snappy Swedish pop-rock savvy at work on Violate & Create and Daughters Of The Sea and several moments of cheesy AOR power balladry.
Memory Garden sound like that rarest of beasts – a band for whom Black Sabbath’s most influential era was helmed by Tony Martin. The sound is big, bright, crisp and loud, the performances flawless, the title track a moody belter, and it’s accessible enough to appeal to a wide range of ages and tastes, but there’s also something rather clinical and bland about Doomain.
It’s a smooth, elegant and professional product, but not an album that many will find themselves getting that passionate about.