Garden Of Worm is a Finnish trio, apparently named after a King Crimson song. Endless Garden is their album number three, and it shows quite a progression from their beginnings. A quick online search tells me that band members grew tired of their previous progressive rock outings and decided to head towards ‘simple and basic doom metal’.
That’s a fair enough starting point, but to my ears, even the doomier tunes on their ‘basic’ doomy debut have something unorthodox about them. The vocal sensibilities and introspective interludes, complete with flute, seem to point to both their prog past and their increasingly spacious and autumnal albums to come. Album number two, Idle Stones, has a vastly warmer and more primal feel, and this third one, Endless Garden, continues the trajectory.
The opening tune points the way. Hands Up, You’re Free is an instrumental intro, and we get an unmistakeable prelude of the album’s character, as guitar and bass lines weave around each other, managing to be paradoxically comforting and foreboding. The energy builds, and the flute makes its debut to add another melodic layer. The rest of the album develops from that kernel just as a tree from a seed: the branches head off in their own directions, but their essence is perceptible from the start. The guitar lines, sometimes fuzzy and driving, as in Name Of Lost Love, and sometimes more restrained, as in The Flood, snarl and chatter away, while the bass rolls and rumbles.
folk horror cinema in a sweeping proto-doom musical format…
The drumming always feels deliberate and thoughtful, and the sum of the instruments gives an effect of spaciousness, of cold sky and ancient trees. Aside from some tasteful flute here and there, the last main element is of course the vocals. Most of the time, there are two vocal lines in harmony, and a rich, sweet, and palpably retro feel. It’s an album of dark, sweet, and unnerving tones, and I’m not even sure track five, Autumn Song, is even the most autumnal song here. It’s certainly the most psychedelic and tense, but that’s just another iteration of the band’s distinctive and patient approach to gloomy doom rock.
This album is folk horror cinema in a sweeping proto-doom musical format: the unyielding power of nature, of death, of isolation. ‘This is your epitaph.’ It’s almost too much to bear as I listen, gazing out at the clouds on a late winter’s day in Melbourne, longing for sunny days. But it’s definitely a journey worth taking.
Scribed by: Rob Bryant