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Gardenian is a seriously underrated and oft unknown melodic death metal band from the late 90's who in the 4ish years they were actually playing put out 3 full length albums the first two being completely bad ass and the third being not too shabby but not quite on par with the first two. Any who on to the review, so here on Soulburner Gardenian has definitely evolved their sound from Two Feet Stand a bit for starters they have slowed things down a bit and added Erik Hawk of Artch for some awesome clean vocals. The album also feels a bit more melodic and definitely has a darker feel.
The album kicks off with As a True King and they've got your attention with a very death metal oriented song and the album does a nice job balancing the more aggressive songs with the darker more powerful ones. As I said before Soulburner has a darker feel to it which is truly felt later on with in the album. lyrically you can tell the Jim Kjell is coming from a dark place in his life with songs like If Tomorrow's Gone, Tell The World I'm Sorry and Loss, just to name a few, you can almost feel his pain as the songs play out. Don't get the wrong idea here it's not like this is an emo album or anything of the sort it's just nice to be able to feel what the writer is going through when you listen to the music and Gardenian does an excellent job of that and I think much of that can be credited to the addition of Eric Hawk.
Mr. Hawk's vocals really do make this cd what it is in my opinion tracks like Deserted, Tell The World I'm Sorry and my personal favorite Small Electric Space just needed that finesse that Jim Kjells's voice lacks to make them complete. Small Electric Space is easily the best track Soulburner has to offer, voiced solely by Eric Hawk, it just has this aura to it that's a bit hard to capture in words you just have to hear it to understand what I mean. While on the subject of Eric and the duel vocalists Soulburner, to me at least, has a feel I can only liken to that of Dark Tranquillity's Shadow Duet with the warring conscientiousness’s that evolves over the course of the album if one takes Jim and Eric as two separate entities. I don't know maybe I'm crazy but that's just the way I see it.
Musically speaking I must confess I'm a bit of a lamen, I don't know the fancy terms or other jargon I see in other people's reviews, I can't tell you what chords whose playing or which drum's being struck when and honestly I wouldn't care to even if I could, I just know what sounds good to me. So with the exception of Powertool I think this album sounds good and flows well and it’s not that Powertool is a bad song I just don't think it fits the feel of the album very well that's all. You get the more aggressive more death metaly songs like As a True King, Soulburner and Black Days as well as the slower more in-depth songs like If Tomorrow's Gone and Small Electric Space. All in all this is a great album worthy of your attention whether you're a fan of the genre or not it has tracks for everyone. Stand out songs are the opener As a true king, Deserted, Small Electric Space and Black Days though I would generally recommend the whole damn thing.