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Garden Wall - Path of Dreams CD (album) cover


Garden Wall


Progressive Metal

3.75 | 44 ratings

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3 stars This 1994 disc, from Italy's Garden Wall, serves as another example of my belief that there is vitality in the old progressive rock genre yet! I'm glad that I didn't rush to judge PATH OF DREAMS after only one or two listens, because I find that the album has really grown on me over the past few days.

The band presumably take their name from a line in the classic Genesis song "I Know What I Like," and early Genesis influences are apparent in Alessandro Seravalle's accomplished guitar work, which often evokes that of Steve Hackett during the NURSERY CRYME/FOXTROT era. Tony Banks-like keyboards can also sometimes be heard, but Garden Wall have more than enough originality to move them well beyond the realm of a mere "clone" band. Certainly Genesis never rocked as hard and long as this group does on tracks like "Sex," "Oniros," and "The Cage," which are at times almost scary in the power and ferocity of their attack!

With over 70 minutes of music, PATH OF DREAMS also offers good value for your music dollar. The longer tracks are bracketed by shorter pieces, where the excellent piano of Mauro Olivo sets a haunting, carnival-like (almost ragtime) tone. Indeed, it is the guitars and keyboards that are the band's strongest assets; as with many groups who eschew their native tongues in favour of English vocals, I find the singing to be the weakest link here. Yet Seravalle is by no means a bad singer, and any shortcomings in his pronunciation, or the lyrics, are countered by the passion of the delivery (a prevalent characteristic of Italian progressive rock).

As progressive rock, PATH OF DREAMS inhabits the heavier end of the spectrum, and borders upon being "progressive metal," but for the more sensitive shorter pieces, the aforementioned lovely piano, and the strong use of keyboards. Overall, the music is somewhat harder than the type of progressive I normally prefer, and thus I give this (nonetheless GOOD) CD three stars. If you think (as I used to) that there's precious little life or originality left in progressive rock, give an ear to PATH OF DREAMS -- just don't judge this solid album on the basis of a single listen!

Peter | 3/5 |


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