Memory Garden - Mirage Metal Blade - 2001 /images/covers/MemoryGarden.jpg Mirage is the newest album by Memory Garden and it is quite a pleasant surprise. Memory Garden is yet another band that comes from Sweden (it seems like every other band I review comes from Sweden), but they have set themselves apart from the other Swedish bands with their music. The music of Memory Garden can be described as doom-metal; it is dark, heavy, and crunchy. The clean vocals by Stefan Berglund are very unique, show a lot of range and really add to the dark tone of the album. The guitars by Anders Looström and Simon Johansson show are characterized by excellent harmonies, very catchy melodies but the best aspect is the crushing riffs that really dominate most of the songs. Tom Björns drumming is very powerful and Ken Johansson does a great job handling the bass. One of the best songs has to be Hallowed Soil. It starts off with the drums and bass really pounding hard and then some extremely heavy and crunchy guitars join them. But at various times during the song some beautiful harmonic leads are played to add some variation to the song. The song A Lone Grey Day is another song to feature more crushing riffing by Anders and Simon. The singing by Stefan is really aggressive. The song is really characterized by some great guitar solos throughout the entire song. Shade is a slower song than the previous two songs I talked about. The verses find Stefan singing with just some guitar picking but during the chorus all the instruments kick in and once again everything is at the crushing mid-tempo pace. There is a great section of the song (3:10-3:39) where the singing and the guitars are exceptional. Shade is the longest song in Mirage and it features some great tempo changes and great instrumental work by the band. Revelation is a faster paced song and actually it is very catchy and it also features plenty of tempo changes. The chorus is really grand and almost operatic and it is totally different to the rest of the song. The instrumental section found at 1:46-2:00 features some cool guitar sounds and the song goes at this pace for about another 30 seconds. Yearning is a very beautiful and somber instrumental piano driven piece. It is then followed by another outstanding song River of Sludge. What I really love about this song is the part (1:55-2:14). It is a slow part with great guitars and it has a really big sound. The guitar solo is really cool as well. The last song The Search ends the album quite well. Stefan sings very emotionally and it features acoustic guitars and simple yet great drumbeats. This was another band that I really had no clue what kind of music they played. For some reason I thought that they were probably a melodic power metal band but I was very happy to hear that that was not the case. Memory Garden plays a style of music that is crushing, emotional and beautiful all at the same time and that is exactly what is so great about them. If you are a fan of this genre make sure you check out Mirage.