This Thursday we’re going to be talking about an Austrian band that got recommended to us out of the blue, and fuck, were we grateful after we heard this album. Garden of Grief is a one-man band (that one man being Boronian Sturmfels) that’s been operating since 2008, and not quietly as ‘Endstation’, today’s focus, is their 5th studio release. This is one of the few bands we’ve reviewed that’s been kept on our mp3 players, and one of the majority favourites in the office so far. Links to find/hear more are at the bottom of this post, which is slightly more long-winded today.
We’re going to run through this hour-long release track by track with you, as we felt that just giving our opinion with no specifics here might not cut it.
‘Auftakt:Angriffskrieg’ kicks us off. It’s an intro that doesn’t give away much but hints at a spring of old-school chaos waiting behind the fuzz. We had never heard of Garden of Grief before, and here in the office our tastes in BM can vary pretty wildly so we were anticipating a love/hate fight between us all. But hell, when ‘Initial Command’ kicks in a moment later… Well we were partly right about the old-school feel hinted at in the intro, but it’s been done in a somewhat new way. What we mean by this, is that GoG isn’t playing copy-paste music. There’s no drifting off for a predictable segment or lull. It’s not an attempt to sound like anything else. Excellent composition, full, complex riffs moving a mile a minute through the drums (which are something else by themselves by the way). There’s not a hint of confusion between each individual cog in the song, and more impressive is that no sound is becoming favoured over the other in the recording. Remember, this is a one-man band, and that can sometimes show through in other one-man-bands when an instrument gets favoured over the others, it gets the best writing, the loudest track; not here. Not even close.
After we drool over the drums and bass in track two a little more, we move onto track three, ‘Aufbruch: Anfang vom Ende’. It’s a 180 turn from the last song, it’s still technically excellent but much mellower with less moving and interloping parts. And it holds our attention through a short atmospheric track. We say short here because the next song, ‘End of the Line’, is a 20 minute epic. Yeah, that’s a twenty minute song. Now when we first realised that, a hundred questions came to mind, about this one solitary Austrian hidden away somewhere writing songs that go on forever, and this is one of the big things that makes us want to have a chat with Sturmfels, so if you and us are both lucky you can watch this space for an interview.
Getting onto the actual track ‘End of the Line’, it’s another sharp turn away from the preceding songs. It has an impressive range, not just of music and riffs within the track, but also of the emotions it invokes along the way. Once again it’s seamlessly fitted together, and leaves us quiet for a good portion of it every time we listen. It manages to play through a solid 20 minutes without leaving you one to get bored in, so immersed are you in the sonic picture it’s painting.
‘All Out!’ is out next stop. We delve into the darker side of ‘Endstation’ for this one. The tone is dim, the vocals are on a warpath in an assault seemingly engineered by the drums. This feels like a more direct line, as opposed to the scenic route taken by ‘End of the Line’. Not that we’re missing any of the excellent components GoG has been stockpiling since the first track.
While we could talk about each individual track off this album for a lot longer than we have, there’s a constraint on our article size, and to be fair we wouldn’t want to ruin the surprises that still remain on the album for you (Try ‘Genocide Crescendo’). There’s a huge amount of diversity on this album, while the band maintains it’s own distinct sound. And we love the lot of it.
Garden of Grief have made hardened fans out of the UU team with just one album, and we’re off to track down the rest right now. Check out these links for more info on the band and everything to do with it.
And for us:
Until Next Time