Friday, June 5, 2015

…reflections of forgotten dreams: GARDEN OF WORM – ‘Idle Stones’

Finland’s Garden of Worm made quite an impression with their 2010 self-titled debut and established themselves as some of the finest purveyors of despondent, psychedelic doom. ‘Garden of Worm’ was an adventurous and forward-thinking album that also exhibited maturity and restraint in execution. A half-decade later and Garden of Worm have further refined their craftsmanship with their sophomore full-length, ‘Idle Stones.’ While the self-titled debut was easily identifiable as a “doom” album ‘Idle Stones’ transcends most, if not all, genre conventions. The heavier riffs—save for the hazy, bluesy psychedelia of “Desertshore”—have essentially all been rendered unto ash. The band, to their credit, are still able to develop tunes that are both beautiful and downcast, but the heft of their earlier work has been replaced by subtler sonic explorations that are almost as trippy as they are moody.

Most of ‘Idle Stones’ can simply be described as melancholic, mesmerizing, and sprawling. Album opener “Fleeting are the Days of Man,” with its clean(ish) guitar and melodic bass playing, exudes a similar style to the languid, laidback approach found on much of Dead Meadow’s ‘Feathers.’ The track is characterized by a subtle tension—perfectly controlled and restrained—by deftly handled drumming. Fiery, red hot leads eventually consume any semblance of order and “Fleeting are the Days of Man” becomes, for a few brief moments, an entirely different, yet mind-expanding, tune.

Despite working almost exclusively with a dreary palette Garden of Worm have managed to create varied and multifaceted aural landscapes where the impending darkness of a setting sun is indistinguishable from the hope and beauty associated with a sunrise. “Summer’s Isle, including Caravan,” a perfect example of this dichotomy at work, is a somber slow-burner that ignites into frenzied freak-out reminiscent of Velvet Undergound’s noisier moments on ‘White Light/White Heat.’

‘Idle Stones,’ with its warm production, moody textures, and acid-tinged psychedelia is a classic sounding album that matches Garden of Worm’s growth and development with their willingness to experiment. Though the band, or at least the album, has probably shirked expectations by essentially foregoing any semblance of what could be considered doom, Garden of Worm still work with similar textures and tones. This is rainy day psychedelia for the ruined…



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