Le Jardin Des Mémoires - Amber Visions (2012)
Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
Le Jardin Des Mémoires is a hypnotizing avant-garde metal band from Italy consisting of bassist, guitarist, and programmer Gianlucca Gobbi, as well as drummer and vocalist Christian Di Lenardo. Both of these musicians also play in progressive power metal band An Handful Of Dust. Amber Visions is the name of the new project’s first album, and it’s an extremely interesting one.
Musically, this album is mid-paced to slow, and focuses mostly on dreamy guitar melodies, a few symphonic orchestrations, and enchanting piano patterns. The slow and melodic vocals evoke a lazy atmosphere that is often quite dreamlike. Depending on the attitude of the instrumental parts, this unique style creates quite different atmospheres. Some songs sound like peaceful lullabies, such as the opening and middle sequences of the profound “Neptune”, and other parts have a mysterious lounge atmosphere like “Disincanto”. Yet others feel somewhat depressive like “One Memory (A Kiss)”. A few female vocals and vocal layering light up the atmosphere as well. From time to time, the band explores more metal-orientated territories as seen in “Words Are My Personal War”, which starts almost like an alternative rock track from the nineties before switching to vivid riff sections, dark and menacing bass guitar lines, more technical drum play, and a few occasional death growls. One could compare this band to French progressive gothic metal group The Old Dead Tree and the Chilean melodic doom metal band Mar de Grises. This is interesting, as both of these bands were intriguing in sound, but don’t exist anymore.
Le Jardin Des Mémoires writes long and progressive tracks that are rather challenging and need some time to grow. Some of them are extremely surprising and shocking in an avant-garde manner, such as “Margareth”, with its psychedelia and unexpected middle break, which is something I have never heard before from any band. This song is probably my personal highlight on this record. The laid back closing cover song “Le Ciel”, by Japanese visual kei band Malice Mizer, is an original and fitting choice to close the record. Alternatively, the duo also offers a few shorter, and at some points even accessible and catchy, tracks like the beautiful “Our Summer Has Ended”.
The few negative points about this album include the rather average production, portions where some orchestrated parts and piano passages sound out of place, and a few vocals that are out of tune. The dominating positive factors more than compensate, and include creative song writing, gripping atmosphere, and the uniqueness of the final product. All in all, this intriguing and unique band has quite a lot to offer, and I would suggest visiting its Soundcloud presence to give this excellent debut record a try!
4.0 // 5