Gardenian - Soulburner (Nuclear Blast Records) - Back
This 1999 release hit me off guard at first a friend of mine at the time played it for me with the intent that he knew I thought secretly that it was beyond belief. In fact, it was but not right away. Erik Hawk the vocalist who has probably the best clean voice that I've had playing in a Melodic Death Metal band to date. There's been many of these vocal changes with Melodic Death singers some go well with the music some destroy it entirely. Hawk is not featured on every track but the ones he's on you know it is just amazing him hands down.

The music here seems a bit impressive some I think actually a couple riffs were either boring, rip offs, or just plain in the innovation category. However, "Small Electric Space" is outstanding a song I have never been even close to getting sick of. A lot of the lyrics here touch on Depression and Manic Depression giving it a more dramatic type of persona not this happy, jovial newer type of Melodic Death we see nowadays which wasn't the case in those guys earlier days.

The guitars on "Soulburner" are pretty thick and well laid out and yes there are clean parts but only when it is warrented and fits the musical direction entirely. I have been discouraged by the lack of press or any type of communication that this band still exists or not I honestly haven't a clue if they still are around since their second release came out that's about all that I had heard.

11 tracks of thick guitar and uptempo rhythms mixed with clean vocals by Erik and another guest female vocalist contributing much emotion in her voice. This to my knowledge is not their debut album 2 foot stand I believe is but hell it'd be such a waste of talent if these guys never got big within the Metal arena. A damn tragedy. Gardenian kicks ass hands down!


Reviewed By: Death8699 -