"The Exit Garden" (High Roller; 2024)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"The Exit Garden" is one big, old-school heavy metal record, complete with galloping rhythms, chunky guitar and fantastic lyrics. (The Exit Garden, for example, is, according to the band: "... is the place where the souls live, a place of Dream and Myth." I'm sure you get the idea.

There are eight tracks on the album, which run the gamut from classic hard rockers like you'd expect from UFO and Black Sabbath to faster artists like Iron Maiden. The band's sound is all its own, with influences obviously drawn from the earlier days of heavy metal, but there's also a heaviness that leans into stoner/doom territory with crashing guitars, throbbing bass and driving drums.

My favorite tracks were the title track, which starts things off the right way, "Equinox of Fire," with its incendiary leads and pummeling drive, and "Oniros," which starts off deceptively slow and then crescendos into a first class rocker.

To be honest, the final track, "Dawn of Another Life," didn't do much for me. It's a slow, ballad-like track that prevents the album from going out with a bang. But one dud out of eight isn't bad.

Fans of classic metal will find "The Exit Garden" to their liking. It's great to hear bands out there still keeping that sound alive.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2024 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.