Gardenian was founded in April 1996 by drummer Thim Blom and Guitarist / vocalist Jim Kjell. Later on Håkan Skoger (Bass) and Niclas Engelin (Lead guitar) joined that band and added the last missing pieces. A rehearsal tape was recorded in July, even though it sounded a bit lousy it was sent to Listenable records. They replied within a week and told the guys that they wanted to sign them to Listenable. Gardenian at this point maybe had four or five songs but they told the label that they were ready to make a whole album. Listenable wanted things to happen fast and they didn't want things to take too much time, therefore Studio Fredman were booked in December 96. Since the recording had to be made in such a hurry Gardenian had to rush the last few songs to get enough songs for the album.
Entering studio Fredman with the notion of a remarkable sound and with a few butterflies in their stomachs. Fredrik Nordströms well know for his sound on At the gates " Slaughter of the Soul ". The album was re-mixed in January by a third person, (Rune Johansson) who became their savior. The mix took two days and then the album was ready for printing.
Listenable did not wait with anything and the first Gardenian album entitled "Two Feet Stand" saw the light of day in May 97. The next couple of months Gardenian received lavishing good reviews and comments as the new hope in melodic death metal. In June 97 they recorded a Cover version of Mercyful Fates " A dangerous meeting " for a tribute album out on Listenable. At this very same time they recorded a small demo tape for their next album with the tracks Deserted and Ecstasy Of Life. A few tours were planned for them but the label did not have the money to make them go through. The plan was to get Gardenian on tour with Cannibal Corpse and also a small tour with Arch Enemy.
As nothing seemed to be happening with Gardenian at this point Niclas joined forces with Inflames as a session member on their upcoming Whoracle tours. He played on all the summer festivals, on the following tour in Europe and a couple of gigs in Japan. At this point Gardenian felt like they were not going anywhere by sticking to Listenable and so they told them and all hell broke loose. This was a quite difficult period for the band that actually split up for a while. After talks they all decided that they should give it 100% to make another album contacts with the labels were made. How ever Håkan sadly announced that he wanted to leave the band so that he could focus full time in to his other band Headplate but that he would still put down the bass on tape if the guys had not found a bass player before the next album recording. Niclas had established with Nuclear Blast as he was currently playing with Inflames and they were said to be very interested in the band as well. The negotiations started with Nuclear Blast and a couple of other labels as well but in the end Nuclear Blast pulled the longest straw and won them over.
After one and a half years Gardenian were ones again about to enter Studio Fredman. The NB deal was closed in January 99 and three days after Gardenian were in Studio Fredman to put their new album Soulburner on tape. This time it was all very different, the guys felt pretty confident at what they were doing. Until Jim tried to make the clean vocals, which he really should have practiced on doing a whole lot more before entering the studio. He could not succeed with the vocals and the guys became pretty damned frustrated. Niclas had a plan though. He called Eric Hawk (ex Artch vocalist). Eric who lives in Norway said it was a little short notice as they were all ready in the studio recording, but he talked it over with his wife and came down to Gothenburg the very next day. He came, he saw and he conquered. In a matter of hours he had put down the vocals on four different songs. Working like a real pro. On the evening there was a big party and Eric did some things we shouldn't mention here, let's just say that every body became to drunk. Anyhow Eric finished up his work the next morning with a blasting headache and he left the studio in the afternoon.
After this it was time to put some female vocals into it as well. Niclas had this friend since he played with a band called Idiots Rule. Sabrina Khilstrand (also known from the old girl-metalband ICE AGE) came up to the studio and started to work on the harmonies. She did a great job and the album had taken a shape that none of the members could have predicted before. Summing up with some keyboards (Tomas Fredriksson) the album only had to be mixed and then sent down to Germany for printing.
After several delays Soulburner came out in September 99. A new bass player had joined the band, Kris Albertsson who earlier had played with Niclas in his old band Sarcasm. The metal press praised the album and once again marked Gardenian as the future ruler in the scene. It was also time for their first tour in Europe. The Nuclear Blast Festival III with Hypocrisy, The Kovenant, Evereve and Brimstone. They played eight gigs in Germany and two in Austria. A great success to Gardenian who enjoyed every minute on stage and got a lot of cool memories and hangovers as well.
After this the guys were thirsty for more and two weeks later they went on yet another tour this time with Inflames, Dark Tranquility, Children of Bodom and Cry Havoc. For a period of eight days they once again lived the way they want to live, on tour and on stage. The most memorable times on this tour was to play in Stockholm and of course in Gothenburg where the crowds went totally berserk and sang along to the chorus lines. That's pretty cool as Gardenian aren't supposed to have sold any albums at all entitled to Nuclear Blast.
On the Hypocrisy tour they had became quite good friends with Peter Tägtgren who also mixed them live on two occasions told them that he was quite interested in doing their next album and wanted them to check out if it was possible.
In March 2000 Gardenian once again left for a tour this time a small tour in Poland. The organization on and the conditions on this tour were really shitty and they got ripped of as almost every band that goes there but they had a lot of fun on stage though. In Poland they toured as headliner with Lux Occulta and Demise domestic acts. Cool guys with good aspirations to come out in Europe.
In May 2000 the guys were booked in the Abyss studio. They bought a car for this occasion, which of course got stolen that very same night. They had to rent a new car and get a friend to drive them up to Pärlby where the studio is Located. Well in the studio the guys got this comfy feeling you get when you know that this is just the way you want things to be. A producer who cares and really wants to create a good sounding album. Peter worked in the way all producers should be working and Lars Szöke was great on punching in the guitars when there was mishaps he also was a great drinking partner making Niclas and him self have a vomiting contest after sharing a bottle of Samboka, beer and whiskey all in all a great person. This time Jim felt he had practiced a lot on the vocals and Mr Tägtgren made him feel very comfortable putting down the clean vocals and this time it worked as planned. Chris made additional backing vocals and arranged the harmonies in a Simon & Garfunkle way that the other guys thought he was kidding. They didn't know that he could sing like that he probable didn't know it him self.
The album came out in October 2000 and the metal press raised it higher then ever before but still Nuclear Blast did not push the band and there were no tour available for Gardenian. Nuclear Blast consisted that they did not sell enough albums to go on tour, which they did not believe. As nothing happened with Nuclear Blast the band decided to try to leave NB in search of something other. That's where they are to day!
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