Review MEMORY GARDEN ‘1349’

Founded in 1992, doom metal band Memory Garden didn’t lose any time and released first a demo and then an EP. The full-length premier followed a couple of years later. It was ‘Tides’ that hit the shelves in 1996 and four additional longplayers followed over time.
‘Doomain’ was the latest record so far and eight years after Memory Garden’s fifth record has been let off the leash it is ‘1349’ which brings new doom metal songs to your home.

Nine songs and a decent running time of 51 minutes is what the album offers, at least from a number-perspective. Musically, Memory Garden provides powerful doom metal and songs like ‘Pariah’ give a good idea of what the band stands for in 2021. Well-crafted melodies, never too fast in pace and heavy riffs is what the longplayer provides with confidence and dedication. The heavy pounding opener ‘Shallow Waters’ is a good start into the album, combining doom- and power metal. The doom roots are reflected by the great ‘River Runs Black’. The tune is a seven-minute monster that is built on heavy riffs, great vocals, a catchiness factor and quite some intensity. ‘River Runs Black’ is a great song on the album that showcases a band that knows how to write a good song.

‘The Messenger’ has a lot of acoustic elements, which makes it a calmer song with some powerful outburst while never growing to a real headbanger. Still, the track fits into the context of the album and helps to create a good flow.

Theme-wise the album fits also very well into the current days of pandemic-steered craziness. ‘1349’ is a concept album that blends facts and fiction of a pandemic that happened a long time ago, the days of the black plague. This dark and tragic period of history provided enough inspiration and narrative to create songs that are anchored in the fields of doom metal.

A doom metal band from Sweden, that includes the temptation of comparisons with the legendary Candlemass. There are some moments on the record with Candlemass references. In general Memory Garden developed their own sound which they celebrate on ‘1349’ with nine songs that are true and honest music. Traditionalist of heavy metal should check out the album, an entertaining and varied album that never loses focus and passion.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Shallow Waters
  2. Pariah
  3. Distrust
  4. Rivers Run Black
  5. The Flagellants
  6. The Messenger
  7. The Empiric
  8. 1349
  9. Blood Moon

Label: No Remorse Records

Genre: Doom Metal

Release Date EU: December 17th, 2021

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