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Garden Wall - Principium CD (album) cover

PRINCIPIUM

Garden Wall

 

Progressive Metal

3.35 | 37 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Principium" started Garden Wall's contribution to the world of prog rock music. Not unlike their compatriots of Asgard, guitarist/vocalist Alessandro Saravalle's interest in ancient mythology and symph prog drove this band's debut effort toward a trend similar to your average neo-prog. It is true that some of the heavy riffing and dissonant soloing are already there for anyone to hear, so Garden Wall works in a place safe from all the neo clichés: yet the main direction through which the repertoire was conceived, played and arranged is quite loyal to the Genesis-like patterns of modern symphonic prog. On the other hand, it is true that most guitar solos and many synth orchestrations feel aggressive enough to convey some harshness to the music, which serves effectively to add a harder edge to the main symphonic drive that is spread all over the place. The opener 'The Garden' is an accurate example of the band's earlier musical ideology. 'Silent Waves in a Silent Ocean' reminds me a bit of "Nude"-era Camel, while 'The Giant and the Wise Man' captures Garden Wall's symphonic finesse at its best, but is soon surpassed by the most incendiary numbers: 'Ekpyrosis', a majestic 3-part suite full of challenging dexterity, and 'Onde Radio', the stunning instrumental closure whose title is actually the band's initial name. 'Wehwalt' is a slightly disturbing sonic landscape painted with synth layers, while 'In the Dark' is an attractive prog ballad. The material comprised in "Principium" contains plenty of great musical ideas, but I feel there is a minor flaw that keeps this album to become better than it could have been: it's a lack of cohesion that fortunately will not occur in their following albums. It is no wonder that during the recording and production process of this album, the band was yet to find a stable line-up: keyboardist Mauro Olivo, whose contribution to the band would soon prove to be fundamental, only came in when Saravalle was dealing with multiple duties (besides guitar - keyboards and bass) and another keyboardist who had left. But my overall balance is quite positive: "Principium" is a very good starting point for a career that was destined to create some of the most captivating albums in the European prog scene.
Cesar Inca | 3/5 |

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