Hanging Garden: Backwoods Sessions Part II

Hanging Garden-Backwoods Sessions Part II

I got a thing for Hanging Garden. Don’t tell Katatonia. They’re my new side piece.

All joking aside, since the announcement of Katatonia’s hiatus (of which they had recently become reactivated as of now), I needed a band that would fill their place in my heart. After hearing their name thrown around forums and through Facebook, I decided to give Hanging Garden a chance. Actually sat down and listened to them.

Best. Decision. Ever.

Honestly, this band is just that good. The melodies, the down-tempo guitars, the beautiful lyrics, all packaged together in a brand of Finnish melancholy that I haven’t heard in a long time.

Hanging Garden continues this trend with their latest work; Backwoods Sessions, Part II, a closer and intimate look at the band as they re-recorded a few select songs of their 2017 album, “I Am Become”.

A five track EP featuring songs like “Kouta” and “Ennen”, Backwoods Sessions Part II is a different take on “I Am Become.” Usually, my motto is, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”, however, these rules don’t apply to Backwoods Sessions Part II.

The songs sound different, the biggest example of this would be “Hearthfire”, the original featuring the guest vocals of Tomi Joutsen of Amorphis. In Backwoods Sessions Part II, the vocals are handled by the band themselves, to wonderful results. I think I must have heard the ending a thousand times since the EP’s release. The smooth, clear vocals flowing into my ears. I don’t know a lick of Finnish except for thank you and hello, so I couldn’t tell you what they were saying, but it sounded good to me! Different, but just as glorious. In each recording, you can hear the vocals, those slick Finnish accents in each lyric like they’re right in front of you playing, along with each loving riff. It feels like an intimate concert, just for me…apologies, the listener themselves. (which means me. Of course.)

I absolutely love everything about this EP, it’s been in my rotation constantly since release, each time listening sounds like the first time over and over again. I honestly can’t get enough.

While we sit around and wait for more melodic/doom albums to come out this year (see: Insomnium, Funeral), I implore EVERYONE to listen to this band and EP. Be captivated by its beauty, the foresty atmosphere, the emotion. The love poured into each riff, into each lyric, each vocal like an arrow to the listener’s heart. Music like that is supposed to kill me, and I really just let it happen. Feel the sadness and the hope, and then scream when it’s over because this EP is just that good.  

As a side bonus: I advise you all to listen to this EP with the headphones/earbuds in. Thank me later.

1. Kouta
2. As Above, So Below
3. One Hundred Years
4. Hearthfire
5. Ennen