It's often said that meditation is the best way to relieve your stress and be happier. Listening to Duke Garwood's new album Garden Of Ashes may be a bit better than that, its dark and moody textures giving your mind calm and warm feelings.
Nothing about Garden Of Ashes is particularly driven, and that adds to its purpose. Throughout the record, you're met with Garwood's bluesy, soft, warm knowing voice that chants above spacious, moody guitars. The graceful flow of 'Blue,' for example, shows the album's true character in a pure form. The warmth of the song's slow movement says all that it needs to.
The album's starting song 'Coldblooded' sets the momentum for the record on the right note. The chill vibe the song has paired with Garwood's retrospective delivery gives it a very light drive that's still a solid backbone without being too overbearing. The song is reprised at the end of the record in 'Coldblooded The Return,' a much slower and dramatic song. This iteration of the track is much more fitting than its more driven counterpart. Garwood's voice is given time to fully say its piece. The guitar riff moodily moves along while choirs back it up gracefully - it's the perfect end to this slowmoving record.
There admittedly aren't a lot of impressive moments on Garden Of Ashes, but its laidback atmosphere does provide for a pleasing listen. That's not to say there aren't some cool moments - title track 'Garden Of Ashes' starts off as darkly and moodily as other tracks, but there's something more in Garwood's voice in this track. It's almost as if his voice has more conviction in it. The best part of this track isn't the ghastly nature of Garwood's voice but it's spiraling, glimmering ending. It feels mysterious but still doesn't lose the mood of the record. The building drive of 'Move On Softly' gives the record a brief moment of energy, which also refreshes the album's sound a bit.
Don't meditate if you need to relieve yourself of stress. Instead, go on a spiritual journey with Duke Garwood's Garden Of Ashes. It's not an album that offers you something too interesting, but rather it serves to relax you and helps you groove along to the sounds of the spirits. Lay back with a drink and enjoy.
Favorite Tracks: Coldblooded The Return. Garden Of Ashes, Move On Softly, Days Gone Old
Least Favorite Track: Sleep
Rating: 80 / 100
Buy or listen to Garden Of Ashes here: