Johan Ericsson’s (Shadowgarden) Top 5 Swedish Gothic Metal Records

By Johan Ericsson (Shadowgarden, Draconian, Doom:VS)
5. Bay Laurel – Where Pain Comes to Die (2000)
This is a forgotten gem. I don’t know what the sales were for this album but I guess not many people have heard it. After releasing a couple of albums and EPs this came to be their final release. This is more heavy rock rather than metal and was earlier in their career more influenced by classic goth bands like The Sister of Mercy and The Mission. But on their third album they truly found the perfect blend between heavy rock and goth. If you find this buy it!
Misery songs are: “Strive”, “A Misery Song”, “Pale Colours”, “Slow Demise”.

4. Lake of Tears – Headstones (1995)
Lake of Tears have done a lot of cool stuff over the years but this is the album for me, still fresh after only releasing their debut album Greater Art in 1994. Singer and guitarist Daniel Brennare can be a genius at times and this demonstrates his feel for melody and songwriting. Words like ‘dark’, ‘raven’, ‘demons’ and ‘evil’ appear in almost every song and make this a cool album rather than some deep, pretentious piece of work. This is like a ride through an ancient fantasy land.
Evil songs: “A Foreign Road”, “Raven Land”, “Dreamdemons”, “Sweetwater”, “Headstones”.

3. Cemetary – Sundown (1996)
This is such a cool album, it has that laid back feeling to it; sit back and relax and it’ll take you for a ride. Just put on the first track called “Elysia” and you know what I mean. All songs blend perfectly together while listening to the whole record. Though I find Black Vanity (1994) almost equally as good, this has perfection written all over it. I really love the production on this album.
Stand out tracks are: “Elysia”, “Closer to the Pain”, “Last Transmission”, “Sundown”, “New Dawn Coming”.

2. Katatonia – Discouraged Ones (1997)
Katatonia’s music has always moved me in a way. Their style in music has changed over the years but the feeling it gives me remains. Although I found their latest releases their very best I decided to bring Discouraged Ones to the list. Much of this because of pure nostalgia. It was a time of youth and I found myself in search for music I don’t do today. Though I liked their first releases this was the turning point for me. I just loved it.
Favourites cuts: “I Break”, “Relention”, “Cold Ways”, “Saw You Drown”.

1. Tiamat – Wildhoney (1994)
This is a real album for me, needs to be heard from the start to the end as much as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Filled with atmosphere and heaviness, this album take you places. The haunting vocals, a mixture between clean and shouting really gives it an edge, a desperation. Also very good and fitting production by Waldemar Sorychta.
A really beautiful piece of work.
Tracks to die for: “Whatever That Hurts”, “The Ar”, “Gaia”.

** Shadowgarden’s debut album, Ashen, is out now on Napalm Records. Order it here.