GARDEN OF WORM
(Released: March 2015)
After their 2010 self-titled debut album – which was an odd but generally engaging twist on traditional doom metal – Finnish trio Garden Of Worm took a few years off to think things through and find their identity. Now they have returned with something even weirder.
Being named after a King Crimson song, it was always apparent that the band had a passion for the progressive, and they have really allowed this element to come to the fore on ‘Idle Stones’, albeit in a slow and solemn kind of way.
Gentle tides of folky prog rock swirl against an understated, hazy doom vibe as Garden Of Worm unfold their minimalist, freeform compositions in a quiet and unhurried manner. Rarely do the guitars make more than a casual growl, and while there are moments of lively retro occult rock, these are fleeting.
There is plenty of quality and imagination on display throughout this four-track album, but the music is a little too jumbled and unstructured to be thoroughly convincing. The songs sound incredibly relaxed and intimate, wandering through mist and magic before circling back on themselves and ultimately gong nowhere in particular. This almost-casual, improvised approach – notably on ‘Summer’s Isle’ – could be either liberating or deeply frustrating, depending on what kind of a day you’re having.
The final track, ‘The Sleeper Including Being Is More Than Life’, hints at the band’s doom metal past with good ol’ church bells and a rumbling intro, but the 20-minute arrangement never really springs into life. The same can be said for the album as a whole: it’s sparse, original and often charming, but lacking in real purpose and energy.