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Painful For All The Right Reasons - 98%

Nokturnal_Wrath, October 9th, 2013

Here I am thinking that 9 Crimes by Damien Rice is the most depressing, most emotionally damning love song ever concocted then Hanging Garden come along with Only In My Mind and completely blow my hypothesis out of the water. Usually songs about love and heart break do nothing for me, but Hanging Garden present it in such a unique and profoundly emotional way that after extensive listening it is still impossible to not get affected by. Hanging Garden have took a concept that is universal to all of us; love, and despairs at it. In the same way that No Country For Old Men despairs at violence, Hanging Garden despair at the whole concept of love. Creating an emotionally devastating journey into the sick and tormented minds that make up this band.

Whilst love and black metal seldom fits together, Hanging Garden make it work, this isn't an over glamorization of love, it doesn't condone it, it doesn't make it out as something sweet and pretty. It despairs at it, it sees love as a disease, a pestilence, only something that spreads torment and heartbreak, creating a weapon for the emotions with How Will You Live Your Life Today? The music is able to cut to the core of the listeners emotions as easily as a hot knife through butter, it strikes a deep and understanding symbiotic relationship with the listener. It strikes the listener much more than simple entertainment, it almost feels like the music was surgically designed to get into the listeners feelings. The emotions presented on here are unbelievably earnest and real, it seldom happens that a band is able to make me feel their absolute anguish and sorrow through their music, yet Hanging Garden have shook me to the core. Seldom do I feel this defeated, this emotionally damaged that I feel completely hopeless after an album. If that isn't a good enough descriptor for how powerful this album is then I don't know what is.

The music presents some of the most emotionally destructive atmospheres I have ever heard. The guitars play incredibly heart wrenching and emotionally naked music, the melodies are stunning and beautiful with a phenomenal amount of despair and dejection. The melodies range from the suicidal dirge of Only In My Mind to the post rock inspired sorrow of Tears of a Silent Rain. The guitars portray a lot of ideas and they're interesting. I often find myself coming face to face with bands who have one idea and then repeat it over and over again throughout the entire cause of an album, it's nice that Hanging Garden are able to mix more than one idea into their music to create an emotionally powerful and at times really quite beautiful album.

The melodies would not be anywhere near as effective if the band didn't portray them in the right way and thankfully Hanging Garden know how to use them to their full emotional effect. The melodies feel languid, drawn out and defeated, it really gives the feeling that the band members are depressed and dejected. It's uncommon that I find a band that is this successful in portraying the musicians absolute anguish and torment, Hanging Garden are able to do this immaculately.

The vocals are a hugely vital aspect in bringing the pain to the music. They range from anguished rasping to gut wrenching and deranged shrieking. The vocalist is very versatile and exceptionally talented, giving an emotionally vulnerable and powerful performance throughout. Somewhere In My Heart contains one of the best vocal performances I've heard within depressive black metal, the vocalist utilizes a heart breaking and beautifully painful shriek that is unlike any other vocalists within the field. It's unimaginably emotional and painful. It's hard to describe just how much raw unbridled emotion the vocalist is able to present through just a few sentences, in my eyes it would be best to seek out this album for yourself and feel firsthand the emotions that Hanging Garden's vocalist is able to portray. I've always felt as though a good vocalist is paramount to good depressive black metal, the vocals in this particular field need to be as agonizing as possible to create a wholly emotional performance and Hanging Garden have exceeded my expectations.

How Will You Live Your Life Today contains some of the most emotionally devastating music I've ever had the pleasure to listen to, it's remarkable how this album continues to ruin my mood two years after discovering it. I would never have thought songs about love and heartbreak could get as devastating as this. I've heard plenty of love songs and the only one that has even come close to striking me on the same level as this album has been 9 Crimes. How Will You Live Your Life Today is an album that kills me continuously on subsequent listens, it's unimaginable how good Hanging Garden really are. My advice? Get this album as quickly as possible and be sucked into Hanging Garden's world of despair and heartbreak. Recommended for fans of Forgotten Tomb and Nocturnal Depression. Essential