VAE SOLIS (Russia) # 4
rating: 5, 5 of 6
This is definitely one of the best US bands playing so-called 'atmospheric death metal'! If you checked out Issue III, you should know that I praised their former demo tape (also entitled „Heart Of The Corona") to the skies, since it was really fantastic material; and now we have this MCD (MCD lasting for the fourty minutes??) featuring remastered demo songs + two new ones, „Solar Pulse" as an introduction, and „Shards Of The Sphere". GARDEN OF SHADOWS' style is much alike early SEPTIC FLESH (circa „Temple Of The Lost Race" and „Mystic Places Of Dawn" CDs), fast but never losing melody, with plenty of symphonic elements, powerful guitars, brutal male 'dragonvoice' and celestial female vocals… No doubts that the best song here is „Apollonian Realm", as well as „Heart Of The Corona". The new one, „Shards Of The Sphere", is more mid-paced and doomy, but still very impressive. The CD comes with a splendid layout and packaging (and finally, with all of their equivocal though extremely exciting lyrics!), therefore it's a MUST for all fans of atmospheric sympho-death / doom metal. (Herr Stalhammar)
ABOMINATE (Lithuania) # 9
An U.S.A. band Garden Of Shadows plays atmospheric death metal. Six members of the band creates really powerful sound with guitar harmonies, majestic keyboard melodies, brutal growling death metal vocals and pulverizing drums. MCD contains 6 tracks, including intro, of which 5 appearred on debut demo '97 (reviewed in our previous issue). On a song "Apollonian Realm" you can hear ethereal female vocals, which gives more atmosphere and spirit to Garden Of Shadows' sound. Bonus track "Shards Of The Sphere" will also infuse your spirit with mystical emotions. There's nothing I can say more, just ENTER THE GARDEN OF SHADOWS!!!
ANCIENT CEREMONIES (Portugal) # 3
Very interesting debut from this north american band. "Heart of The Corona" was originally released as a demo in the spring of 1997 but, due to a recent contract with X-Rated Records, the band decided to re-release it as a MCD, with a new re-mastered sound and an extra-track, "Shards of The Sphere". Garden of Shadows play a very melodic, atmospheric, melancholic kind of mid to fast - pace Death-Metal. The use of keyboards helps the overall emotional and melancholic atmosphere of the album, though they get quite pompous and synphonic at times. Guitars are very, very melodic and are easily the main feature of their music. There are also some acoustic guitar parts, usually used as an intro/outro of some songs. As for vocals, Chad is a growler, so you know what to expect, Still, his vocals quite nicely in the music. Guitarist Mary helps with some ethereal and very nice vocals on "Apollonian Realm", which is, along with the title track, the best song of the album. In resume, a good opening act from Garden of Shadows and in my opinion this is worth checking out. One other thing... Being this album sold as a MCD, it's actually quite long, almost 40 minutes of length.
ETERNAL FROST WEBZINE (U.S.A.) #6
This album is hard as hell to review. If you recall, I reviewed GARDEN OF SHADOWS' demo tape of the same name a few issues back. That review didn't do this band nearly enough justice. Heart of the Corona is Garden of Shadows' demo of the same name pressed on CD (and remastered?) along with a brand-new track ("Shards of the Sphere"), which just utterly kills. If you try to pigeonhole Garden of Shadows, you'll hit a brick wall. The most obvious comparison is Greece's gods of melodic death, SEPTIC FLESH. Garden of Shadows may well be America's answer to Septic Flesh, but they are just as original as Septic Flesh and therefore not a copycat band. One thing I really like about Garden of Shadows is the harmonic sequeals they use at times, most notably the ends of some riffs in the song "Heart of the Corona", which is probably my favorite track as it's got a lot of melancholy parts to it without veering off into doom territory. Chad's deep vocals should not be overlooked either. I think it's great that a band that oesn't focus solely on musical brutality uses completely brutal vocals (well, there are just a few spoken segments). It makes for a nice contrast with the music. Mary also does some beautiful clean singing "Apollonian Realm", which is another of my favorites. All of the songs on this disc rule, but I'd have to say the personal favorites are "Heart of the Corona", "Apollonian Realm" and "Shards of the Sphere".
This review was exhausting! Just take my advice that if you like extremely-talented melodic death metal, you will fall in love with this. And if you've got the demo, you need this just for the new song! (This CD is available for $10US/Canada and $12 elsewhere. Add $1 if you want it sent registered mail.)
ANTITHESIS (U.S.A.) # 2
The Garden Of Shadows sound can best be described as a fusion of the heaviest guitar rhythms of American death metal with the atmosphere and melodies of such European acts as Rotting Christ and Sacrilege. Keyboards and female vocalizing combine to give this MCD a truly European feel actually, rare in the American scene. Garden Of Shadows seem to pull it off without a hitch, of course! Harmonized guitarwork and thunderous drumming complete the illusion that you have been transported to some dark snowcovered mountain lodge to commune with your primal urges, and of course listen to some killer blackened death metal. Continuing the rarities with this band is the addition of axewoman Mary, by all accounts a supremely talented (and attractive) complement to the harmonic content of the music, not to mention a haunting vocalist in her own right. Throw in the truly guttural vocal growls of Chad, and you have a band that encompasses many of the most inspiring aspects of the death metal scene. "Lovely Cold" and "Company In Solitude" are two tunes I cannot get out of my head, even weeks after playing the disc for the hundreth time!
BLOODSOAKED (U.S.A.) 03/08/99
"Heart of The Corona", the highly acclaimed demo is now finally available on CD. Totally remastered and featuring their new song "Shards of the Sphere". GARDEN OF SHADOWS play melodic death metal with very brutal vocals that flows together perfectly. "Heart Of The Corona" is a must have. Featuring just about 40 minutes of incredible melodic death metal.