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PATH OF DREAMS

Garden Wall

Progressive Metal


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Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
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!

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#2848)
Posted Thursday, February 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
jfs@claranet.
5 stars Excellent ! .....melodious and technicaly perfection awaiting You on this CD ! Icredible piano/keybords passages, complex guitar playing, nearly inconspicuous Hammill influenced charismatical Vocals...

This album is absolutely prog-rock masterpiece of 90th !

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Posted Saturday, July 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It grows on me after several listens, but at my first impact this album seems to be regarded as a good dark heavy progressive work in the average: as a matter of fact you can appreciate the heavy guitar excursions- as well some dark passages during the interplay with the keyboards- after being completely into their quite complex stuff, which is anyway well worth checking out at least!!It depends on your tastes naturally: if you prefer an "obscure" heavy style in the vein of bands like "Campo di Marte", mixed with that one regarding the most dramatic moments of Supper's Ready within Foxtrot" by Genesis, this album can satisfy your exigencies...in the opposite, if you are fond of such a classic romantic progressive genre, you can see anyway the evolution of this latter, in the direction of the hard progressive style or you can listen to an art rock genre in the vein of the most harsh King Crimson.Certainly their song "The cage", almost "pomp", is a controversial episode, to me a bit strident, especially by considering their references to a jewel like that one by Genesis ("In the cage", from "The lamb lies down on Broadway", actually can not be considered their inspiring model here, but it never minds...); nevertheless the other tracks, above all "Sex", characterized by a long meditative (powerful in the same time) guitar solo, enriched with an exceptional final crescendo, let us change idea about the real consistency of this work!!Instead different songs, such as "Kaos", "Band läuft" and "Oniros" are not less inspiring, even though the approach is always the same: an endless interplay between the guitars and the keyboards, with a dramatic tone and to me that's enough (despite of some short episodes, like "Prelude" at the piano, which is not useful in the development of the album, but it never minds once again...). It's an essential album for the lovers of this particular genre (according to my tastes a 3 stars score could be enough, but you could add also another half star, at least), which is a good example of the Italian "heavy prog" genre.

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#2850)
Posted Saturday, July 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
dr_metal@hotm
4 stars This is Garden Wall's second album and the progression and growth from their first album can be clearly heard.... This album sounds more cohesive than their previous effort and see's Garden Wall moving into a somewhat heavier sound while still maintaining a very 70's influenced feel overall.... They have managed to create a broad soundscape with a variety emotional and sonic textures which at times feels dark and forboding and other times feels light and uplifting.... If you like your progressive music somewhat on the heavier side then this album should fit the bill quite well!!!!

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Posted Friday, October 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Edited 09/27/05!

This is an excellent album by a very little known and underrated band for everyone loving heavy intricate kind of music. Although being a bit in the vein of 70's veterans like CRIMSON or VDGG, in fact the vocals remind quite a lot to Peter Hammill, the music on here is absolutely innovative and unique. Awesome Vintage type keyboard playing and guitar riffing, complex structures, mood shifts and odd-timed rhythms just as I love it. GARDEN WALL's style is not at all reminiscent of the classic Italian Prog, is much darker and heavier. I can't hear as well not much resemblance with GENESIS, since the style of guitar and keyboard playing is quite different from that one of Hackett/Banks. Anyway this band is IMHO one of the most innovative and technically perfect ones of the 90's. I'd like to recommend this album highly to any fan of dark,heavy and intricate progressive rock.

A very masterly done album and certainly the best one by this band! (4,5 stars in real!)

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Posted Saturday, March 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This was such a pleasant surprise for me. Like others have said this one is a grower, and that may be in part because of how complex it is. This album sounds more like a Heavy-Prog album than a Metal album, and I should mention the rough and theatrical vocals that do bring Peter Hammill to mind. 7 of the 11 tracks are over 7 minutes.

"Prelude:The Gates Of Hypnos" is an opening instrumental that features piano melodies throughout. "Communion" has more piano in the intro before a full sound arrives a minute in. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. Piano continues throughout, but this one gets pretty heavy at times. "The Bride Of The Wind" is an instrumental. It is pastoral to begin with but organ, drums and bass come in quickly. The tempo and mood changes throughout. I can't tell you how much I adore this tune. Just listening to the drums and other instruments is a pleasure. "Sex" is the longest song at 10 minutes. It opens with uptempo blasts of instrumental work like SPOCK'S BEARD before it settles with a dark vibe. Scorching guitar takes over just ripping it up as drums pound. Nice. Raw vocals 2 1/2 minutes in. It calms down before 4 minutes with what sounds like mellotron. The guitar takes over 7 minutes in and is quite hypnotising as it continues to the end of the song. "Interlude : Between Eros And Thanatos" is a short one minute track that features piano melodies throughout. "Band Lauft" opens with some good heaviness as guitar and drums lead the way. The tempo picks up after a minute. It continues to shift. An atmospheric calm 2 1/2 minutes in. A catchy beat comes in around 4 minutes. Nice heavy sound to end it.

"Kaos" is hard and heavy and the guitar reminds me of the band TIME MACHINE. Chunky bass and pounding drums are excellent. Deep and theatrical vocals 2 minutes in. Organ after 4 minutes. Lazy guitar melodies before 5 1/2 minutes are great. Big finish. "Onrios" is more uptempo but still fairly heavy. It settles down when vocals come in after 1 1/2 minutes. Heavy after 3 minutes. That contrast continues. That TIME MACHINE sounding guitar is back. It ends with acoustic guitar after 8 minutes. "The Cage" is dark and atmospheric to begin with. A full sound after a minute. Organ 2 minutes in as vocals follow. Powerful organ runs 4 minutes in. Awesome sound. "Maj Di Muart" is heavy early but it calms down after a minute. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. Sounds like accordion before the vocals by the way. A great heavy sound after 4 minutes. Vocals are back 5 1/2 minutes in with pounding drums. Some ripping guitar after 8 minutes. This sounds so good. That accordion sound is back 9 minutes in. "Mortal Maj" is the concluding track that is filled with piano melodies much like the intro.

An acquired taste I would say, but those fond of heavy complex music with some variety would do well to check ths album out.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#179715)
Posted Saturday, August 16, 2008 | Review Permalink

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