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Gardenian - Soulburner - 90%

Orbitball, August 28th, 2010

This melodic death metal quartet was formed in Sweden back in 1996. It features Jim Kjell on guitars/vocals, Niclas Engelin on guitars, Thim Blom on drums, and Hakan Skoger on bass. Additional guest musicians were done by Erik Hawk on clean vocals, female vocals by Sabrina Khilstrand and keyboards by Thomas Fredriksson. A strong release by the band and a good follow-up from their debut entitled "Two Feet Stand."

Gardenian's distorted guitar tuning was in C, which made the sound really heavy and thick. However, they do utilize clean riffs on "If Tomorrow's Gone" and some acoustic melodies on "Tell the World I'm Sorry." These are just a few examples of songs that were played in this fashion. There were more songs on this release that utilized variations like the tracks that I just mentioned.

The bass guitar was prominent on the song entitled "Powertool", but was just for the introductory riff. The rest of that song was accompanied by those heavy guitars. For most of the tracks on here, they were very catchy and original. The song "Small Electric Space" has clean vocals throughout the entire composition. It begins with keyboards, which segues into heavy guitars, then also has some clean tone measures.

The overall production was really well mixed and engineered. All of the vocal outputs, guitar riffs and drums were totally in sync. The guitars were the most appealing here, as well as the clean vocals by the guest musicians. In terms of the vocal arrangements, these were done by Patrik Jerksten. I would have to say he did a great job utilizing the heavy throat and mixing it with clean one. Both styles were well done and orchestrated. Lyrical themes deal with life, humanity and personal thoughts.

In conclusion, I would have to say that this album was very unique and intriguing to listen to. It's a release that you can play repeatedly and never get sick of. It would be because there's so much variation here. Every instrument and vocal output was in order with one another. The arrangements by the band et al were also very well thought out. An album that every person who values melodic death metal should own. If you're not convinced, then check out the songs that I mentioned already first and foremost.