"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

The Gardnerz - "The System of Nature" (CD)

The Gardnerz - "The System of Nature" CD cover image

"The System of Nature" track listing:

1. The Art of Suffering
2. Lady in the Grave
3. Your Final Solution
4. Born to Consume
5. Incident
6. Shift in Thought
7. Flaw in the Axiom
8. More or Less
9. Confusion
10. Maybe it's Time

Reviewed by on January 26, 2011

"The Gardnerz do have a very interesting, distinct ambient folk sound that highlights them from other bands in the scene. "

Every now and then, something oblique or left-of-center gets released that beckons a further listen. The Gardnerz' new one, "The System of Nature," is one such offering. Hailing from Stockholm, this quartet give us an interesting CD rich in a folkloric black metal sound that only a Northern European band could formulate. It was mixed and mastered by their drummer, Juan Pablo Donoso, down in Santiago.

From the get go, "The System of Nature" has a slower, quiet solitude to its overall sound that also belies a good, latent undercurrent of black metal. The sound is both bleak and stark, making for evocative mood music. "Incident" has some good serpentine guitar leads that entwine themselves nicely around the song body, complemented by the sinister vocals of Niklas Ankarbranth. "Your Final Solution" takes plowed-into leads and layers the guitar into a sophisticated song. One thing that The Gardnerz know how to do is change up direction and actually write songs that have movement to them, a lot like the progressive style reminiscent of Atheist.

"The System of Nature" is seeped in acoustic intros and song breaks as well. "The Art of Suffering" simmers with a graceful wrath, while "Shift in Thought" takes the acoustic riffage into a controlled nihilism of leads - transporting the listener into a desolate state of mind. Throughout the release, a dark theme of beauty prevails, evocative of an austere existence. This works very well for the bulk of the songs as a unifying theme.

The body and songwriting of tracks such as "Flaw in the Axiom" are fluid with charming simplicity, and the bass line in "More or Less" adds nice structure, but sometimes the guitar leads tend to be the achilles heel of this release. You'll see good leads by Wilhelm Lindh and another sessionist they brought in, but songs such as "Confusion" exemplify how that standard circular guitar lead employed over and over becomes redundant. That all-too-distinct guitar riff permeates many of the tracks and needs to be varied a lot more, as it sounds like they are running out of ideas.

The Gardnerz do have a very interesting, distinct ambient folk sound that highlights them from other bands in the scene. They have provided a good ethereal backdrop of sound with "The System of Nature" and would be more evocative if they would just work on some of the elements that comprise the body of their songs.

Highs: Nice ambient folkloric black metal

Lows: Some redundant elements and songwriting.

Bottom line: "The System Of Nature" is decent evocative mood music

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)