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Of course, if you bothered to look at the genre of the Gardenian, you would see that this is a melodic death metal band from Sweden. So a lot of people would naturally think, "Great another Bodom clone" or "Do we need more Kalmah?" I would like to tell you that this notion is completely false. From the first few minutes of the title track "Two Feet Stand," you notice that this band actually comes up with unique, non-generic melodeath. Typical to the genre, there are indeed crushing but catchy riffs that cause the headbanging gene within us all to move our heads. However, unlike many other melodeath bands, Gardenian is aggressive, but they don't come off with an extremely heavy sound. Nor do they lean towards extreme power metal either.
Gardenian writes riffs that have more melody in them rather then full out blasting death metal such as Kalmah or Amon Amarth. Basically, Gardenian is more melodic metal than death metal which is something you don't see too often with these bands. Usually the lighter bands will sound like early Children of Bodom which is not the case at all.
The album itself kicks off with the song "Two Feet Stand" which is an excellent choice for an opener. It's fast and aggressive, but it's not too heavy which sounds refreshing. The album continues onward with this unique formula until we get to "Netherworld," the fifth track. This is a nice instrumental track that utilizes acoustic guitars and soft drumming. Basically, "Netherworld" is far from any kind of metal at all and that just shows the brilliance of the musicians and their versatility.
The album moves on with the same formula they had on the first track "Two Feet Stand" until you reach the final song, "The Silent Fall." True to the title, this is another acoustic type instrumental that we saw in "Netherworld." It's composed nicely and like the other instrumental, it is completely unique.
As for the actual instruments, the twin-guitar lead is seen in Gardenian, and it is utilized effectively, and they have their share of technical, melodic riffs. The rythym section is solid, they fill in the gaps left by the guitars nicely. The vocals are done briliantly. On this album, their are only death growls (this isn't true for their other two albums). The death growls come out harsh and brutal with an intense atmosphere around it. It is simply fantastic.
The whole album (except for the two instrumental tracks) sounds very melodic with a harshness to it rather than a brutality that you see with other melodeath bands. I know that's kind of vague, but Gardenian is simply a one-of-a-kind band. The only faults with it are that some of the songs sound kind of similar, and it is a little hard to distinguish between songs if you aren't paying attention closely. Also, the instrumentals can be a little dull if you are impatient.
All in all, anyone who likes melodeath should pick up this album for sure and Gardenian's second album. (I didn't think their third album was too good.) This album will certainly not disappoint and you'll blast it through your speakers countless of times.