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By Lucifera

I received this tape in the mail, it was sent by Mary who happens to be the guitarist and vocalist of this great band. I was mesmerized by their music, a touch of doomish/atmospheric death metal. They have a hint of the musical style of the more famous Greek metal bands. The beautiful blue and black cover, I must admit, caught my attention. Instead of a review I will tell you a little about this band and follow up with an interview with Mary.

Their sound is brutal yet melodic, this is an interesting contrast they use the keyboards to create a harmonious atmosphere, excellent pulverizing drums, and the growling of a wild half-human vocals that is known to the death metal scene. Mary adds ethereal female vocals and all these elements make up this wonderful band. They are from Maryland (Gaithersburg) and have played live with MY DYING BRIDE.

The band formed in the beginning of 1995 after Funeral Opera broke up and they found Mary who was the ex- guitarist of a band named Biovore. The demo I speak of is called HEART OF THE CORONA.

"At a time when death metal bands have abandoned their style, GARDEN OF SHADOWS refuses to compromise.":

The members of GARDEN OF SHADOWS are:
Brian-guitar/bass, Mary-guitar/vocals, Scott-keyboards, Chad-vocals and Bret-drums.

And with this let us enter the mind of this emotional realm of darkness.

1. Mary, tell us how you met the rest of the guys of Garden of Shadows and who came up with the name.
During the spring of 1995, our vocalist, Chad and I were attending the same college and we were introduced by a mutual friend. This friend had informed me that Chad was in an atmospheric death metal band called Funereal Opera-which was really surprising to me because I thought I knew all of the bands in our area-and had lent me a copy of a very poor quality demo that they had recorded. I thought that their demo completely sucked and I wouldn't have offered to try if it wasn't for the fact that I wasn't having any luck in getting a band together myself and I thought that it would at least be and opportunity for me to be playing with other musicians on a regular basis.

When I talked to Chad, he told me that his band was looking for a second guitarist and I gave him my number. He called me a couple of weeks later and I drove over to their practice space and as I was driving up I could hear this beautivul music playing and thought Awhat are they playing on their stereo? This is great!! and it wasn't until I was walking up to the house that I realized that it was actually them practicing and I was totally blown away. That day, they asked me to join the band as a permantent member and the rest is history.

When we decided to change the band name, I came up with the name Garden of Shadows. It was a name I had thought of a couple of years before and we felt that if fit our music perfectly.

2.What kind of musical background do you have? Are you self-taught?
Well, I took lessons on and off for the first year or so (I began playing in 1989) and I have had a few lessons at varying times across the years, although I would say that I am primarily self-taught. I majored in classical guitar my first year in college and studied music theory for two semesters.

3.Is GARDEN OF SHADOWS influenced by Greek Black Metal? Heart of Corona has an uncanny resemblance to ROTTING CHRIST or NECROMANTIA's music.
Thanks for the flattering comparison. We are definitely into the Greek extreme metal scene. SEPTIC FLESH, and ROTTING CHRIST are two of our favorite bands. We also love NIGHTFALL, HORRIFIED and ELYSIAN FIELDS. The Greek scene is only one of our biggest influences, however. Classical music plays a large role in our compositions. We are also influenced by Swedish bands such as IN FLAMES and DARK TRANQUILITY, and really anything that is heavy and melodic such as NOVEMBRE, CRYPT OF KERBEROS, RENAISSANCE, ORPHANED LAND, CEMETERY OF SCREAM... and the list goes on and on. (I must say that they have great taste in music-L.)

4.I read that you were in a band called BIOVORE, was the music different to what you play now? Why did you leave Biovore?
I was in Biovore for about 6 months from the fall of 1992 to the spring of >93. It was really the project of the lead guitarist, Shane. He wrote all of the music which was a unique style of death metal with a huge VOIVOD influence. I really enjoyed playing his music although I wanted a creative outlet in which I could play my own material as well. I also realized that they weren't 100% serious and I wanted to be in a band in which everyone else was as dedicated as I was.

5. What do you think of the rise and fall of women in the metal and underground scene? Why don't women stay in metal bands as long as men do?
That's a difficult question. I didn't realize that there had been a fall of women in those scenes. In fact, it seems to me that there are more women in extreme music than ever before! Just look at THE GATHERING, THE 3RD AND THE MORTAL, OPERA IX, MALEFICIUM and such bands. Why, just recently DWELL RECORDS released a CD featuring females in extreme music. As far as why women don't stay in bands as long as men, I can only speculate based on my own experiences. A lot of men just don't take women seriously as musicians. They think of them as sex objects and they certainly don't treat them the same as other men. There is a huge lack of equality between men and women and it seems that women must fight harder than any man to succeed-in music or in any other male dominated field.

6.How far is Garden of Shadows planning to take this delightful musical mayhem? Who would you like to play with live?
We are going to take it as far as we can go. Death metal is the love of our lives and we will never stop playing. We would really like to play with any other melodic death metal bands although it would be my dream to play with my favorite bands like IN FLAMES, ROTTING CHRIST, THE GATHERING, and SEPTIC FLESH.

7.Can you tell us what kind of scene there is in Maryland?
The scene is not very strong here, I'm afraid. There are very few clubs that will book metal bands, and when well known bands do come here to play, they play to much smaller crowds than they deserve.

8. How have crowds responded to you as a female in the underground metal scene?
Actually, I don't think they hve responded to me any differently than they would anyone else. Occasionally, someone will approach me who is surprised to see a woman playing guitar in a death metal band and they seem to like that fact. As a whole, crowds have responded to us very well, and I have not had to deal with any unpleasantness.

9.I like the cover of the demo, especially since black and blue are my favorite colors...besides crimson red. But anyway, who's idea was it?
The demo cover was also a concept which I came up with. While I was going to college, there was a beautiful picture of a corona on the wall of the meteorology department, and every time I would pass by , I would stop and look at ti and think of how amazing it was. It inspired me to write the lyrics for the song Heart of the Corona-about the sun's awesome power both for spawning life and for immense destruction.

10.What other hobbies do you enjoy besides playing in Garden of Shadows?
Most of my free time goes into doing band mail, and practicing with the band (three times a week). I spend a lot of time playing guitar which although it is not necessarily band related, is something which enriches me as a musician which ultimately helps my playing in the band. I also enjoy singing although my primary instrument is the guitar. I am avidly intersted in learning languages as well. I have several books and computer programs, but things are progressing slowly. I wish that I had more time to do everything I would like to do.

11.Do you have any other merchandise my fiendz should be aware of?
Right now all we have is the demo which we are selling for $4 US/ $5 world. We have been working on getting T-shirts for a while and I hope that we can have them soon. If anyone is interested, they should contact us.

12.Any last "lovely cold" words for all of us?
Hail to you, Lucifera, for this great interview. I encourage all women who are trying to compete in the field of underground music to never give up. And I encouroge anyone interested to write me for a definite response DEATH METAL FOREVER!!!

Garden of Shadows' Heart of Corona demo can be ordered from the band or $4.USA/$5.outside the USA. Can't go wrong with that! They have currently been signed to Wykked World Records.