|Reviews & Recommendations
|I am an old soul who has lived many lifetimes on this sphere and
others. Obviously I am older than dust.
-- Artaud, G.O.D
|The Garden of Delight
Artaud & Co.
Lutherion, Merciful Nuns
- Artaud Seth: founder, permanent member, vocals , lyrics, synthetizers , piano , guitars (1991-2007)
- Theodor O`Connell (1992-2002): guitars
- Adrian Hates (1992-1997): bass , backing vocal
- Mike York (1999 - 2007): guitars
- Jawa Seth (2003-2007): bass
- Neils Herbig (2005-2007): guitars
"Founded in 1991, Artaud proclaimed that G.O.D. would produce seven albums in seven years with seven songs each -- seven is a very powerful number and, in some arcane traditions, seven thrice is the number of perfection. The corpus of The Garden of Delight cannot be viewed as individual albums or songs -- they are all integral aspects of the whole plan that Artaud has been consistently explicating since the first years of this decade. In the 1994 song Necromanteion (S.O.C.R.), Artaud utters 'The Last of the Lost Ones/Tell them I want to see them.' On their most recent album 'Scheoul,' he declares 'We are the Last of the Lost Ones.' Six years and six albums later, the circle approaches completion. . . Musically, there can be little doubt that Artaud is influenced by Carl McCoy in both subject matter and vocal style, and by and large, G.O.D. retain the fundamental structure of 'a man and his drum machine.' However, Artaud sneers at the notion that the Garden of Delight is a "goth" band. Considering goth, one immediately thinks of bands that are influenced by the Sisters of Mercy. Granted, there is a certain degree of such within the Garden of Delight's work (particularly Symbol and Vision). However, this does not take into account the incredible diversity of their music. Indeed, while all of their albums have had thematic consistency, their music has changed greatly through the years."
-- Stephen Walsh, 5/97
"Over the years, there have been many changes in their line-up, but the Garden has always kept to the core Sisters of Mercy duo - the man and his drum machine. In this case, the drum machine is The Watchtower (finally named in the credits for 'Scheoul'). In style, however, they certainly aren't a Sisters clone. Certainly, the Garden pays much homage to their predecessor, the Fields of the Nephilim, with their Lovecraftian imagery, and their love of all that is Pagan. However, the Garden has covered many other styles of music, ranging from dancy guitar-rock, to dark synth music, to mellow atomspheres under just Artaud and a 'piano'. Practically, with every album, the Garden had a stylistic change, which never really created a detriment to their music. Definitely, they gave gothic music yet another sound other than the bevy of early eighties copycat artists who already exist."
-- Vlad, 4/97
"Seven is considered the magical number by most of the doctrins in the whole world. 'Time will change in a circle of seven years' - this line you can find in an oldbook from the 13th century called 'Eibon', and that means each magical system is changed in a seven-year term to reach a higher stairway to wisdom. Another example is that you can see how the original hebrew 'Bible' can be divided into seven equal parts in every respect! And in the old 'Gilgamesh Epos', you can find the invocation of the seven gates. Seven ermethic doors leading to the supreme Revelation."
-- Artaud in an interview with Cynfeirdd Magazine, 3/97
½ 1991: ENKI'sTemple
"... it was firstly a pre-release of the debut album ENKIS TEMPLE that found its way to my record player and that presented in a whole a piece of solid goth music so that I agreed without hesitation to do an interview with them. The album appears in massive black with the omnious seal of a pre-christian god. On the back cover one finds a drawing of a ritual gate and even the logogram of the label Dion Fortune is a drawing of a magical banning circle."
-- Sebastien Fugenzi, Gothic Press, 91"ENKIS TEMPLE is for me a very difficult developed work about Gods and demons. The small budget that was given to decree of the production unfortunately can be heard very well. Actually good tracks like Ancient God that was pre-released for promotional purpose or Sumerian Haze suffer upon this. The album got a respectable attention by the press and a lot of people exclaim the first album as the best that G.O.D. ever have done. Shortly before the release of the album Pisacane left surprisingly the band."
-- Dirk Lancer, 11/97
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1993: Sargonid Seal
"From a production standpoint, 'Sargonid Seal' is Garden of Delight's breakthrough album, in contrast with the low budget production of their first two records. This is the third album from the first phase of G.O.D.'s incarnation - consisting of seven conceptual albums in seven years -, and it highlights the bands maturaty, with more textured music where layers of keyboards complement guitars, bass and dark vocals, producing an almost flawless release, comparable to the best the Fields of the Nephilim had to offer. At a time when Carl McCoy's band (Artaud's main influence) had faded into oblivion for the rest of the decade, The Garden of Delight became the only logical and worthy replacement to The Nephilim.
Musicfolio Picks: Silent Gate, Shared Creation, The Seal."
-- DJ Avalanche, musicfolio.com, 4/03
1994: Necromanteion IV
"This is a great album that represents the entire GARDEN OF DELIGHT soundscope, past and future. The opener Martyrium (The Relation of Light To Shadow) is one of their most powerful, featuring strong percussion, vast guitar, and Artaud's emotional voice. It perfectly sets the mood for what's to come. The centerpiece of the album (which is itself the middle of their seven releases) is the title track Necromanteion(S.O.C.R)- one of their most beloved songs, and a true G.O.D. anthem. For the curious this would be the perfect album to jump in on as it's not as bland as the three previous, nor as harsh as the remaining three. Not to be missed."
-- Patrick Bruss, via amazon.com customer reviews, 4/00
¼ 1995: Symbol and Vision
"On paper the premise of Garden Of Delight looks a little flimsy: A Nephilim/Sisters inspired band who use their music as a base for exploring ancient religions. However, their albums have been consistently getting better and better, and their fifth album contains some truly superb moments that most bands cannot even come close to reaching. Their most cohesive, finest album to date and one of THE releases of the year."
"In Scheoul (the hebrew term from the underworld), you will find a whole story about the Ancient Gods, called the Old Ones. The history of the gods and demons flows through the Scheoul to the big, black subterranean lake; there it ends in the 'Last of the Lost Ones', who is boating over the lake, searching for the nonentity, the Paradise. This story is continued in our last and seventh album."
-- Artaud in an interview with Cynfeirdd Magazine, 3/97
"These super goth kings release their last album in true dark style and magical forethought. Vocally, their most angry; musically, their most fluid and focused."
-- Middle Pillar Records
2000: Radiant Sons
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and when fear is your only possession
that's when fear becomes obsession" ~ Artaud (Dawn part II, III)
This cultic band has surely proved itself over the years to be the best alternative to bands like Fields of the Nephilim and The Sisters of Mercy (if not better, at least from a conceptual and cryptic perspective). It's very unfortunate to see that their fan base and popularity remains very limited while they are still producing albums that could be considered among the best of our era in the Goth genre . 'Dawn' stands out as one of the best G.O.D. albums and it compares closely in style and quality to 'Elysium' by the FOTN. This album is a must have in the CD collection of any true Goth music listener out there. "
Sami Alajaji, for musicfolio.com, 4/03
½ 2002: Psychonomicon 1991-2001
"2CD. Garden of Delight is still is one of the most popular German Goth bands ever. Now after 10 years of existence we celebrate their birthday with a very special double CD. CD1 includes many classic and very rare GOD. favourites such as Spirit Invocation (UK only release), the dark Ceremony, new 2001 version of Exodusand their mega hit Spirit Lovers. PLUS as a special thank you for all the GOD fans, CD1 includes also FOUR previously unreleased studio tracks. CD2 is a collection of some of Garden of Delights jewels, recorded on their various 1999, 2000 and 2001 tours. The album is a true live album and has not been over-dubbed or over produced, however the recording quality is excellent. All in all this double CD contains 26 songs and is packaged with a beautiful booklet with many unreleased graphics"
½ 2003: Apocryphal I: The Fallen
Tracklisting: 1. This Priesthood 2. Northern Skies 3. Lost Eden 4. From The Ashes Of Angels 5. Northern Skies II 6. Shemyaza 7. Angelic War In Heaven 8. Dead Sea Scrolls
"We are witnessing with this release the rejuvenation of Goth as it's entire history book has reopened its pages to a new script, a new tale with Garden of Delight's signature written all over it. I am not sure anymore if it would still be fair to reference G.O.D to FOTN or S.O.M. With 'Apocryphal I: The Fallen' G.O.D have turned the corner ... they can stand tall and proud as a reference themselves. A special praise should go as well to From the Ashes of Angels, a song that qualifies by any mean, measure or standard as one of the best songs written over the last two decades and a half of Darkwave music's existence.
Artaud, thank you for carrying the torch and for keeping our passion in such music so alive!"
-- Sami Alajaji, musicfolio.com, 4/03
"The Fallen opens up with spoken words by Pope Jean Paul II, over a bed of Gregorian chants similar to songs on GOD's 1994 'Necromanteion IV'. On the opener This Priesthood Artaud puts on his demonic hat of Azazel, the leader of The Watchers (from the Book of Enoch), and furiously attacks the church and its leaders: 'in the name of Christ, black black murders in white, our holy fathers, dressed in white... how long have you been into this priesthood? 2000 years of sorrow, no hope, no tomorrow.' Northern Skies the first single taken from Apocryphal I has this all too familiar Garden of Delight sound and brings to mind several of G.O.D's songs from their brilliant 1993 and 1994 albums. Northern Skies II, track 5 on the album, is a much angrier extended version of the song. Angelic War In Heaven is one of those fillers with little substance. But the highlight of this album must be From The Ashes Of Angels, a song where bass guitar riffs come straight from The Cure's Faith era, complementing deliciously dark lyrics and vocals. Play it back to back with The Sisters' Some Kind of a Stranger, and enjoy the ride into the darkest alleys of gothism. On this magnificent song, Artaud writes as Kasdeja, one of the evil Watchers or Fallen Angels, known for teaching various demonic practices.
All in all, 'Apocryphal I' is another ace in the hole for one of today's leading goth rock bands. Eagerly awaiting 'Apocryphal II' to be released later this year."
From the Ashes of Angels
Darker Than All Before
From the Ashes of Angels
Colder We Come Forth
-- Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio.com, 4/03
2003: Apocryphal II: The Faithful
Tracklisting: 1. Infernal Psalms 2.Levitation 3.Angelwhore 4.Afterlife 5. Wintercoffin 6.Pentagrams Burning 7.Angelwhore (epilog) 8.Deeper We Fall 9. The Watchers (bonus)
"Another otherworldly experience and the long awaited follow-up album to Garden Of Delight's most accomplished work to date: Apocryphal I: The Fallen. With spoken word featuring a Crowleyite ritual is exactly the sort of music one traditionally associates with Garden Of Delight. But originality and versatility is what sets Garden Of Delight apart from the contemporary Gothic Rock scene. Predominantly composed of dark hard-pounding Gothic Rock, over the eight songs on here there's aspects of eerie ambient, classical, and even a poppy element. Artaud Seth plays all the instruments, writes all the songs and even produces. Multitalented is an understatement. Since their birth in the early 80's, the band haven't conformed and have refused to integrate modern, club-ish elements saying the music should be as unpolished and unaffected as possible. 'Apocryphal II: The Faithful' is the perfect accompaniment to commuting on a dark winter's evening."
-- Darkland Music
½ 2005: Lutherion I
Tracklisting: 01.Stigmata (nailed) 02.Bleak Horizon 03.The Sinners 04.Immortality 05.Black Mass (therion rmx) 06.First Confession 07.Confession (sanctified) 08.Necronaut 09.Redemptoris Mater 10.23rd Revelation
"While G.o.D. have experimented with industrial gothic metal in the past, Lutherion steers the band directly into that maelstrom. While Fields of the Nephilim comparisons have been apt in the past, the sound within here could be compared at times to the later Die Krupps or even nineties-era Killing Joke! While a distinct gothic rock aspect remains, Artaud Seth's gravelly voice proves to pair well when he screams alongside chugging metal riffs. Stigmata (nailed) catapults the album in the fray, as a arpeggios and heavy drums charge in armed with guitars, its chorus a crowd-refrain cry of the track's title. Another single, Black Mass (therion) rolls in on thunderous metal guitars and the cymbal-accented stomp of drums, slight blips of synths the thump of a kick drum invoking a subtle dance floor pace to this hefty song before dive-bombing into a winding guitar solo finale. When this new acidic edge is conjoined with their driving goth rock in pieces like Bleak Horizon, the results are sublime. (...) Lutherion is a perfect example of how an experienced band can still explore new methods and come back reforged and refined."
-- Vlad M., side-line.com, 8/05
½ 2006: Lutherion II
Tracklisting: 01.From Heresy 02.Omen 03.Play Dead 04.Runechild 05.Earthbound 06.Haunting 07.Fear 08.Vast Saturation (part I&II) 09.Lux Occulta
"With 'Lutherion II' Artaud, the high priest of the international Gothic scene, turns over a new leaf in the history of Garden of Delight and carries you off to a journey into the light but also back to eternal darkness. Therefore, 'Lutherion II' definitely sounds harder and more sombre than anything Garden of Delight has released up to now while electronic elements are also emphasised. All in all 'Lutherion II' is a powerful and dark album which contains harsh guitars and impelling electronic sounds in a rather occult environment. Majestic songs such as Omen, Play Dead and From Heresy take turns with rather suggestive sounds like in Runechild or Lux Occulta until impelling rhythms, mystic guitars and occult lyrics melt into one apocalyptic whole. The connecting element, however, is Artaud's distinctive and charismatic voice which provides an appropriate framework to the conceptual character of the album without neglecting the band's roots and its standing as one of the most important Gothic bands of the last decade. This extraordinary album comes as a luxurious limited double-Digipak with a special matt paint and costly silver stamping, and contains two 12-sided booklets, exclusive tracks and a complete live album."
-- press release
2007: Lutherion III
Tracklisting: 01. Prelude 02. Illuminate 03. Codex 04. Sacred Rites 05. The Abyss 06. Sangreal 07. Dogma 08. Venus Pentagramm 09. Godsend 10. In Memoriam
"Deeply rooted in earthly myths and legends, those who are willing to indulge in 'Lutherion III' will experience a journey into the past: a mystical time of gods and demons - reflected in Artaud's lyrics of obsession and impending apocalyptic scenarios. The black web that 'Lutherion III' weaves emerges as a detailed and sophisticated story about dogmata and sacrileges which is enthroned by the omniscient eye of the Illuminati. It's heavy stuff, excellently produced and highly complex in music and content: 'Lutherion III' seamlessly ties in with GOD classics such as 'Necromanteion IV' and 'Dawn'. Those who loved the preceding albums will definitely love the new oeuvre of Germany's premiere Gothic outfit.
The Deluxe Limited Edition comes with a high-gloss poster, 12-page booklet plus a Bonus CD including the complete single release 'Illuminate', exclusive tracks [including a cover of the Bauhaus classic Dark Entries], a multimedia part and the accompanying video. This Ltd version also includes an Elucidation, a kind of introduction to 'Lutherion III', in 6 different languages."
¼ 2007: Darkest Hour
Tracklisting: 01. In Exordium 02. Adoration 03. Transmission 04.Reign 05.Dying Sun 06. Lamentum 07. Still 08. Legions ( DCLXVI ) 09. Darkest Hour 10. Light
"With 'Darkest Hour' Garden Of Delight bid farewell at the height of their career and simultaneously manifest their exceptional position in the Gothic Rock genre. There is hardly any other band that has managed to release high-quality albums over such a long period and attracted a continuously growing number of fans over decades. (...) 'Darkest Hour' captivates us with its unique intensity. From the first moment we are whisked away into a world full of desperation and hopelessness. Decay and death.... the complete album seems to wind down a spiral staircase towards the final conclusion, the last seconds of being. Powerful and majestic at the beginning, the album becomes more and more fragile and otherworldly until it reaches its climax in the dark and mystic sounds of Transmission and Reign which can already be regarded as timeless classics. On the other hand Dying Sun or Adoration reflect the wrathful and occult Lutherion era of the band..."
"We were eternal, the throne ours till the very last! But now darkness befalls our light. The darkest hour begins. And it will be our last." (Artaud)
2008: In Memoriam
Tracklisting: CD1: 01 Play Dead (omega mix) 02 Levitation 03 Illuminate 04 The Abyss (idra sultra) 05 The Seal 06 Astral Traveller 07 Reign (alpha mix) 08 Necromanteion VII 09 Bleak Horizon 10 High Empress (idra rabba) 11 Venus Rising (revealed) 12 Godsend 13 In Memoriam
CD2: 01 Black Goddess 02 Deeper We Fall/Northern Skies 03 Runechild (irond mix) 04 Awaken 05 Memorial 06 Ceremony (Chris Cusack mix) 07 Venus Falling 08 Occultation of Venus 09 Lux Occulta (Saw II mix)
Tracklisting: 01. Steinkreis 02. Kosmogenesis 03. Sodomie 04. Sonnenwind 05. Neopolis 06. Seelenfunk 07. Psychonaut 08. 3001 09. Winterland 10. Nebelthron
"In the year 3001, infernal solar storms swept over the earth and made the surface uninhabitable. The few survivors of this apocalypse withdrew underneath the ground and founded a new Babylon: the first city of the future. But the new Babylonians arent alone. On the day of the extinction not only the earth lost its face. (Messages from the future, 01/63125AE) But the apocalypse gave birth to a new music: LUTHERION a fascinating, sombre band, who in a gripping manner create a cleverly thought-out total work of art comprising music, German lyrics, artwork and videos, in order to chronicle for us the purification and its aftermath. Seth (vocals, programming), Jawa (bass) and Jón (guitars) mix dark gothic rock guitars with classical arrangements, danceable electronic rhythms with metal elements and delicate piano chords with powerful vocals."
-- press release
½ 2010: Lib.1
Tracklisting: 01.The Equinox 02. Funeral Train 03. Someday 04. Tower of Faith 05. Nunhood 06. Temple of Hadit 07. The Darkness 08. God / Aeon 09. Liber Al Vel Legis (Bonus Track)
"Hes back: Artaud Seth - his departure from the stage following the dissolution of Garden Of Delight mourned by a loyal and ever growing following unable to rediscover that which was lost in Lutherion, the project around Artaud Seth after Garden Of Delight. 'Lib. I' marks the debut album of the Merciful Nuns. Merciful Nuns is Artaud Seth, as he was known, treasured and missed. Mystical, atmospheric, haunting. (...) 'Lib. I' convinces immediately and without constraint. Perhaps because so much of it despite being brand new material does sound rather familiar? Void of musical experimentation, what reaches our ears is pure, honest Gothic Rock. The album fits perfectly, from the first second until the last. Whether the inclination is to get carried away by impulsive melodies or to drift away with eyes closed 'Lib. I' manages to accommodate all preference and mood. Those who had an affinity for Garden Of Delight will find themselves at home with the Merciful Nuns. "
-- Marlene (Radio Dunkle Welle)
½ 2011: Hypogeum II
Tracklisting: 1. The Portal 2. Hypogeum II 3. Sacrosanct Hill 4. Evolution 5. Sacrosanct 6. Civilisation One 7. 3117 BC 8. Megalithic Dreams
"Merciful Nuns have quickly made a name for themselves over the past year. Their successful debut album 'Lib I' and its follow up EP 'Body Of Light' returned to the mystical, haunting anthems of the early Garden Of Delight sound to the joy of a legion of followers. Now the band's new album 'Hypogeum II' looks to capitalise on this momentum with another collection of modern Gothic rock anthems inspired by the mysteries of the Megalithic culture. The album sounds a lot more focused and darker than its predecessor with a sharper production style that drops the retro-chic veneer in favour of a more confident modern sound. (...) Merciful Nuns have crafted another great album here that fans of classic Gothic rock can get their teeth into. The modern production does a lot more for the band's sound and better reflects the tightness of their performance. The only downsides are that at times the songs sound like they're holding back a bit, as though purposefully restrained, which can lead to the longer songs on the album feeling a tad flat in places."
-- Sean Palfrey, Dominion Magazine, 2/11
½ 2011: Xibalba III
Tracklisting: 1. The Prophecy 2. Radiation 3. Dark Trails 4. Year Zero 5. Ancient Astronauts 6. Dwellings Of Gods 7. The Return 8. In Between Worlds 9. 18.104.22.168.0 (bonus track)
"Artaud Seth and his Merciful Nuns have, in a very short space of time, climbed back to the heights of his Garden Of Delight heyday. Already onto the band's third full length release with two EPs and a live album in the discography, Seth isn't hanging about in projecting his musical and philosophical vision to the world any more. (...) The band craft atmosphere around a solid rock core with ease and show that even the more progressive inclinations they have are well within their comfort zone. There are plenty of standout songs on display here with Radiation', Ancient Astronauts', The Return', and In Between Worlds' in particular harking back to the effective gothic rock of Seth's early career, showing why Merciful Nuns is billed as GOD's only legitimate successor. One of the most notable points with any Merciful Nuns release though is the steady improvement in the production and mixes. Despite their fast schedule the album has been given plenty of time in order to get the right balance of sounds."
-- Sean Palfrey, Dominion Magazine, 01/12
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