Hanging Garden draw you into the album almost immediately with opener Borrowed Eyes. The introduction may be simplistic, but it is oh-so effective and really sets the scene well, crafting a mysterious and atmospheric environment before the band moves into a fuller sound when the vocals kick in. The vocals are especially noteworthy, with the two different styles of clean and harsh juxtaposing well against one another for the duration of the track, and the balance is just right with neither style being overpowering. Indeed, Blackout/Whiteout is an example of melodoom done just right – it is heavy and crushing, whilst also featuring stunning melodies and gentler moments.
An early highlight of the piece is Whiteout. It’s one of the more melodic songs of the album and with a vocal line that will soon be stuck in your head, it is very effective at leaving a lasting impression on you and it’s clear why this was chosen as one of the title tracks of the piece because it’s a song that you’ll remember for all the right reasons. It’s not just the vocals that are striking; the keyboard line is sublime and the guitarwork is quietly stunning.
Blackout/Whiteout progresses well from there, with tracks such as Aoede and Words That Bear No Meaning being runaway successes, before it ends on a high with the other title track Blackout, bringing the album to a satisfying close with a few nice little technical moments and an almighty chunky-sounding conclusion before the track is stripped back into a sparse guitar line that eventually resonates into nothingness.
Hanging Garden have outdone themselves with this album – this is a special release and an album that will remain with you for a long time after it comes to an end.