Saturday, 7 February 2015

Garden Of Worm - Idle Stones (Album Review)

Garden of Worm: Idle Stones CD

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 06th March 2015
Label: Svart Records

Idle Stones – Track Listing

01 Fleeting are the Days of Man
02 Summer's Isle
03 Desertshore
04 The Sleeper including Being Is More Than Life


GARDEN OF WORM is a trio operating in Tampere, Finland. Having played progressive rock in various groups, in 2003 the group decided it was time to play simple & basic doom metal. Thus the WORM was born. After several releases on several metal labels, the latest being the successful album for Shadow Kingdom Records (2010), the band went into hibernation.

The new album Idle Stones is a product of this long period of quiet life. After the ambitious debut full length the band were unsure for a time regarding the direction their art would take next. Slowly the doomier, grimmer material allowed improvisation to creep in, and the entire work has a newfound sense of spontaneity.

In 2014 GOW is a different beast than the creature of the early days. The band sounds more inspired and relaxed than ever. The doom metal base is still present, but there's also psychedelic warmness to the sound as well as freedom, like witnessed in the work of improvising rock units such as AMON DÜÜL (II) and TRÄD GRÄS & STENAR.

The freedom also adds to the intensity of the live performances - even though there are always composed songs in the set, the improvisational passages keep the band focused on the moment. Anything can happen.

Garden of Worm is

SJ.Harju | Vocals, bass
JM.Suvanto | Drums
EJ.Taipale | Guitars, vocals


A Finnish progressive doom trio, named after a King Crimson song, signed to the mighty Svart records? These three factors fulfil some of my key requirements for a great record and are enough to give me sky-high expectations of Garden of Worm’s second album “Idle Stones”. Within a couple of listens I felt that these expectations had been met, but in a way I totally wasn’t expecting.

The whole retro occult doom vibe is incredibly popular at the moment so I had some minor misgivings before listening to “Idle Stones” that maybe Garden of Worm would be another hollow band jumping on the bandwagon. Thankfully these doubts proved to be completely unfounded as the band have crafted something very odd and captivating here.

Managing to be heavy without relying on mountains of distortion, the entire album has a hazy, nocturnal atmosphere evocative of the strangeness of the early hours when night is turning into morning but darkness still prevails. Opener “Fleeting are the Days of Man” begins proceedings in relatively brief and conventional fashion, sounding like a drowsy, slightly less Sabbath-fixated Witchcraft. The band then start to voyage into weirder more progressive territory with the ten minutes of “Summer’s Isle”. Covering dark, folk-tinged rock, driving, up-tempo riffing and passages of ecstatic, freeform psychedelic rock it makes for quite a ride. Although the traditional progressive elements of long songs covering different sections, moods and tempos are all present here, Garden of Worm’s execution makes them sound worlds apart from what you would expect. There is no pomp here; the overall sound is very lean and raw, favouring untamed improvisational soloing that teeters on the edge of chaos over virtuoso excess.

Desertshore” follows and brings to mind the spaced-out, hard rock of the massively underrated Virginia trio, Pontiak, setting the scene for the massive 20 minute finale of “The Sleeper including Being Is More Than Life” (Maximum prog points for that title too). Opening with the tried and tested doom staple of a distant tolling bell, the band lurch into an eerie, funereal dirge reminiscent of Pallbearer’s “Foreigner” stripped of its volume but with its otherworldly atmosphere amplified.

Idle Stones” is a highly impressive release from Garden of Worm, managing to sound retro while bringing something vital and modern to create something quite unique. This is something few bands manage to pull off and should hopefully see them win an army of converts in 2015.

Thanks to Nathan and Svart Records for the promo. Idle Stones will be available to buy on CD/Vinyl from Svart Records on 6th March 2015.

Words by Charlie Butler

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