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Garden Wall

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Garden Wall Principium album cover
3.36 | 39 ratings | 3 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Garden
2. Silent Waves in a Raging Ocean
3. The Giant and the Wise Man
4. Wehwalt
5. Ekpyrosis
6. In the Dark
7. Onde Radio

Line-up / Musicians

- Alessandro Seravalle / vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
- Mauro Olivo / keyboards
- Thomas Shaufler / drums

Releases information

CD Music Is Intelligence WMMS026 (1993) Germany

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to TheGazzardian for the last updates
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GARDEN WALL Principium ratings distribution

(39 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

GARDEN WALL Principium reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.
Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars Garden Wall would get heavier in subsequent albums, but on their debut the band seems to be paying tribute to a whole host of neo-prog bands like Marillion, Pendragon and Cathedral. In fact they remind me quite a bit of Cathedral with their heavy rhythm section grounding the guitar arpeggios and keyboard flourishes. The vocals here are measurably better though.

I don’t know much about these guys, but this album shows they have a strong knowledge of eighties progressive rock. Musically they remind me a little bit of fellow countrymen Sad Minstrel with their highly expressive and heavier rock sound, but these guys rely a lot more on synth orchestral layers than that group. The songs all exude plenty of energy, although I’m left with a general feeling that this is closer to slightly moody eighties music than some of their neo contemporaries.

While I said the vocals are better than bands like Cathedral, vocalist Alessandro Seravalle does have a strong attribute of the throaty singing of many eighties crooners like Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Holly Johnson or the Romantics Wally Palmar. The music isn’t anything like those bands, but Seravalle seems to be another in a long line of Bryan Ferry soundalikes who have graced album tracks over the past thirty years or so. Not necessarily a bad thing, and considering the band’s penchant for moody synthetic sounds on tracks like “Silent Waves in a Raging Ocean” and “Ekpyrosis”, his voice is for the most part a reasonable fit.

Speaking of “Ekpyrosis”, this is the most lengthy song on the album at more than thirteen minutes, and while it features some grand climaxes and really cool chamber vocals, for the most part I think the thing drags on for a bit longer than is necessary, especially in the middle section.

The band shows a glimpse of what’s to come with the closing “Onde Radio” though, a prototypical neo- prog number with driving drums, soaring electric guitar and a torrid pace. This is much close to the sound the band would show on their next couple of albums, but on this debut the brooding synth arrangements seem to be much more prevalent.

This isn’t a great album by any means, but it is decent. So three stars are not unreasonable. I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on a copy, but at a fair price this would make an okay addition to most neo-progger’s collections. Recommended to fans of late eighties neo bands and those who like Italian music that isn’t awash with symphonic pompousness.


Latest members reviews

4 stars This is Garden Wall's first album and right off the bat you can tell this band is on to something.... This is a pure progressive album but there are hints of structures that would fit well on a metal album had the band went for a heavier sound on this one.... Overall this is an excellent album ... (read more)

Report this review (#2845) | Posted by | Friday, October 22, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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