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GARDEN WALL

Progressive Metal • Italy


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Garden Wall biography
Alessandro Seravalle started GARDEN WALL's journey at the end of the Eighties.
Through the usual line-up changes, the band realized its first demo-tape, simply titled ''Garden Wall'', in 1992. The following year the German producer Peter Wustmann, well-impressed by the tape, decided to offer GARDEN WALL the chance to sign for his independent label WMMS. So in May 1993 the band was in Stuttgart to record its debut CD ''Principium'', seven tracks spanning between modern symphonic prog and heavy prog. The album met the interest and strong approval of the specialized press.

One year later GARDEN WALL went back to the same studio to lay down their second effort, ''Path of Dreams'', a work that radicalized in some way the approach of the first album and allowed GARDEN WALL to spread their music also outside Italy (the band's website was created by Vitaly Menshikov, a fan from Uzbekistan as well as co-founder of the Progressor.net webzine).

In 1995 the well-known drummer Camillo Colleluori joined the band and, also thanks to his ''parossistic drumming'', the band's sound became more aggressive and the rhythmical-harmonical research became extremely advanced, as witnessed by the very heavy yet very experimental third release of the band ''The Seduction of Madness''.

In 1997 GARDEN WALL released ''Chimica'', a sort of personal interpretation of the progmetal paradigm filtered through all the band's influences, featuring the 34 minutes suite ''Chemotaxis''. The album gained great success and response amidst journalists and critics. The live activity of the band increased too, bringing them to play all over Italy and also in Germany and Netherlands.

In 2000, after some troubles with the label that produced the first four works, GARDEN WALL realized the self-produced demo-CD ''Aliena(c)tion'', a sort of ''manifesto'' of their sound, based on the fusion of highly heterogeneous elements melted together in an extremely violent and heavy rock.

In 2001 GARDEN WALL signed a new contract with the Italian indie Mellow Records, which released their fifth full-length CD ''Forget the Colours''. The band introduced in its sound a melting-pot of styles including extreme metal, typical progressive solutions, classic contemporary suggestions and moments of ethno-jazz rock.

The sixth work of the band ''Towards the Silence'' (a sort of Chapter II of some kind of trilogy begun with ''Forget the Colours'') saw the light in 2004. It fol...
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The Seduction of MadnessThe Seduction of Madness
Import
Lost& 1995
Audio CD$21.99
$10.27 (used)
Path of DreamsPath of Dreams
Import
Lost& 1994
Audio CD$24.29
$15.00 (used)
AssurdoAssurdo
Import
Lizard Records
Audio CD$21.99
ChimicaChimica
Import
Imports 2010
Audio CD$21.99
$20.00 (used)
Towards the SilenceTowards the Silence
Import
Dark Matter Distribution 2006
Audio CD$21.99
Aliena (C) TionAliena (C) Tion
Import
2008
Audio CD$21.99
PrincipiumPrincipium
Import
Edmus 1993
Audio CD$24.29
$12.00 (used)
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GARDEN WALL discography


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GARDEN WALL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.31 | 24 ratings
Principium
1993
3.69 | 37 ratings
Path of Dreams
1994
3.44 | 20 ratings
The Seduction Of Madness
1995
3.38 | 16 ratings
Chimica
1997
3.30 | 15 ratings
Forget the Colours
2002
3.45 | 12 ratings
Towards The Silence
2004
3.58 | 10 ratings
Aliena(c)tion
2008
3.84 | 53 ratings
Assurdo
2011

GARDEN WALL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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GARDEN WALL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Assurdo by GARDEN WALL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 53 ratings

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Assurdo
Garden Wall Progressive Metal

Review by The Truth
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars I echo the words of fellow reviewer The Gazzardarian with this album: Why doesn't Garden Wall have a following?

The quality of this music is downright stellar, progressive metal with so many different flavors it's like some wonderful culinary masterpiece. I don't know if it has something to do with the language barrier (I know very little Italian) but the emotions of this album switch around rapidly in my ears in a manner that is nonetheless smooth and interesting. It has moments that sound like avant silliness, almost a metal Samla Mammas Manna, and there are other sections that sound like Dream Theater in their greatest emotional moments but this happens while Garden Wall creates their own astoundingly unique sound.

There isn't much else to say. This is a fantastic and original record, one deserving of progressive-leaning ears because it is simply creative progressive rock, like many Italian bands are capable of creating.

Very strong record.

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 Assurdo by GARDEN WALL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 53 ratings

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Assurdo
Garden Wall Progressive Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Out of Italy comes this daringly experimental metal album from Garden Wall. But calling it 'metal' is as ill-fitting as the next genre you'd wish to throw at it. This album covers a lot of ground and can be quite hard to get into as it constantly changes course, mutating it's sound as soon as you think you're getting comfortable with it.

We kick off with the Avant Metal track 'Iperbole', one that crosses genres more frequently then I get cups of coffee in the morning. Some extreme vocals feature during the dissonant sections, I don't like them much on this album but they aren't a dominating element in the overall sound so they don't spoil the experience. The Italian spoken words and the spacey use of synths link this a bit to the RPI scene, an impression that gets stronger during the softer sections such as the gentle opening of 'Butterfly Song'. But beware, the album has little ado with what you'd expect from RPI. The aptly named 'Trasfiguratofunky' couldn't be more different and leaps from industrial metal and Crimsonian avant prog all the way to sleazy fusion funk. Fun but a bit gadget-y in my opinion.

The elegant trip-hop of meets nu.jazz of 'Negative' is more up my alley, and if the previous tracks reminded me of MR.BUNGLE, then this one reminds me of that other Mike PATTON project PEEPING TOM. For sure the spirit of mr PATTON is all over the place here. The noisy 'Just Cannot Forget' bridges into a similarly dreamy 'Flash', dreamy, at least till they increase the metal factor again. A nice blues-proggy guitar solo makes the track - if possible - even more schizoid. From then on the album remains in the psychotic mindset of MR BUNGLE's first album, and while I enjoy every individual part, I miss something that makes the pieces of this puzzle fall into place. Maybe the eclectic mannerisms are a bit too far-fetched for their own good?

I would recommend this album to Avant Prog fans rather then metal fans. There may be quite some metal in here - there are even some harsh/extreme metal type vocals - but the band drops the metal element more frequently then indulging in it. I don't know any other works from this band but this album sure warrants further investigation. 3.5 stars.

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 Assurdo by GARDEN WALL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 53 ratings

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Assurdo
Garden Wall Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Italian band GARDEN WALL was formed by Alessandro Seravalle towards the end of the 80's, and after a stable line-up had settled, released their first demo tape in 1992. Since then 8 full-length productions have seen the light of day. "Assurdo" from 2011 is the most recent of these, and is also the first of their albums to be issued through the Italian label Lizard Records.

"Assurdo" is an album that showcases a band that aims for innovation and versatility. Compositions and arrangements are complex and challenging, the individual songs and the album as a whole unpredictable. Prog-metal and jazz-fusion are but two of many stylistic expressions utilized within the vast musical universe Garden Wall explores, but can to some extent be described as the outer limits. A high quality production by a high quality band, well worth exploring by adventurous progressive rock fans with a vast and liberal taste for all aspects of the genre. In particular by those who treasure productions of a highly challenging and innovative nature.

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 Assurdo by GARDEN WALL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 53 ratings

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Assurdo
Garden Wall Progressive Metal

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Garden Wall come from Cervignano del Friuli and began life in the late eighties on the initiative of composer and multi-instrumentalist Alessandro Serravalle. During the years the band went through many changes in personnel and style but has always maintained a coherent musical integrity. The present line up features, along with founder member Alessandro Seravalle (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Raffaello Indri (guitars), William Toson (bass), Ivan Moni Bidin (drums) and Gianpietro Seravalle (drum machines). 'Assurdo' is their eighth full length work, the third of a kind of trilogy, and was released in 2011 on the independent label Lizard Records. In the studio the band was helped by some guest musicians with excellent results and the overall sound is challenging and extremely rich. You can find here influences ranging from Opeth to Area, from psychedelia to classical and jazz and many more. Philosophy, spirituality and literature are an important source of inspiration too in this concept album about 'absurdity' as Alessandro Serravalle explains in an interview: only by the means of something we can call 'absurd' we could have a chance to embrace and, while embracing, trying to know, to taste some particle of '"truth'. If we try to catch, to grip the 'real' with a somehow violent mental act of possession (which is exactly what the 'technical world' tends to repeat over and over again) we'll almost surely lose it... The instruments we have, to work with absurdity, are paradoxes, oxymoron, hyperboles and other 'rhetorical embracing traps for truth atoms' as I like to call them. The music itself gushes from this position too... This leads to my idea of death of pure musical genres. Garden Wall's music is built by mixing up as many musical influences as possible. It's the result of both a strong alchemic interaction between different styles of music hurled into a strange particle accelerator to become something entirely new and of an 'absurd' self-therapy process involving my inner ghosts. To be cured by one's own music is indeed quite... absurd!. As for the lyrics, they do not try to tell a story, they are as touches of colour that are meant to suggest emotions and they swing from Italian to English, to German... Alessandro Serravalle explains the reason of this artistic choice: every language has its own typical 'sounds', so it's absurdly interesting to add, to inject this recipient inside the 'strange accelerator particle' I was just talking about. There's not only English and Italian, but also Friulano (my dialect), German, Latin, Greek and French. Of course I can't actually speak most of those languages, but it's very fascinating to use them for their sounds. Then there's the problem of the translation. Sometimes the 'soul' of an expression just can't be translated into another language. Some expressions come to my mind in Italian, some in English, though I'm not an English native-speaker. I want to keep them in their language. Sometimes I make multiple translations of some key words (I worked that way in 'Vacuum Fluctuation' for example) in order to reach the core of the key word in question via its different 'sonic shelves' in different languages. Although in the liner notes you can find some quotations from 'ma'tres ' penser' such as the Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran, Guido Ceronetti or the writer Robert Musil do not worry, this is not a philosophy lesson so now relax, listen to the music and let it stir your imagination...

The opener 'Iperbole' begins with a sudden burst of energy and 'growling' vocals but after a minute the rage stops giving way to an oneiric, psychedelic mood. You can smell the colours and taste the wind while a musical kaleidoscope leads you to the gates of delirium... 'You're mine! You're mine! Immortal symphonies... I'm close to the other side / So close to the other side / Iridescent membrane...'. The music flows away with many changes in rhythm and atmosphere, there's room for a short organ solo, for a wild, fiery electric guitar ride and for many other surprises... The other tracks follow without interruption forming a long suite where moments of peace and reflection are broken by violent bursts of desperate rage... 'You led my spirit out of the darkness / You fed it with light / Now the icy ranks of obscurity / Take possession of my soul once again...'. 'Butterfly Song' is the first leg of an odyssey accompanied by mental demons such as the crossed- eyed gnome who comes out from the sheets of another city in the frenzied 'Trasfiguratofunky' and melts back in a sad rain. Then you have to cross the stream of notes and the vortex provoked by the mysterious power of absence evoked by the ethereal, hypnotic atmosphere of 'Negative'. Next comes 'Just Cannot Forget', a short passage half way between free jazz and musique concr'te leading to the narrative vocals of 'Flash (short'lived neorealism)'... 'I love to listen to baroque music from four to six a.m. / Wet streets are deafly lit by the traffic lights...'. You have to walk through the mists of a troubled night following a path that leads to the lucid madness of 'Clamores horrendos ad sidera tollit' where you can listen to a monologue that recalls the late Area's vocalist Demetrio Stratos... 'To be or not to be? / Neither one nor the other...'. In 'Vacuum Fluctuation' echoes of Heseinberg's philosophy bounce around you while you risk to lose the contact with reality following the charming notes of a violin coming from east... 'Re- awakening' starts by the dreamy notes of the flute and acoustic guitar, but the dream is still disturbed by a relentless flux of thoughts... You're worn out, dried up! The experimental 'Isteroctomia' concludes the album bringing an ephemeral and disquieting peace...

Well, it's very difficult to describe this excellent work where the absurd walls which usually divide the music genres are completely smashed down. Maybe the beautiful, dark artwork by Giulio Casagrande depicts the atmosphere of this album better than my words...

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 Assurdo by GARDEN WALL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 53 ratings

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Assurdo
Garden Wall Progressive Metal

Review by Man With Hat
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion Team

4 stars Assured to make waves.

First and foremost it must be said, this is my introduction to the band Garden Wall. I can not comment on the rest of their discography, however I'm inclined to say this one is different than most. As others have said, the label of progressive metal is not completely accurate for this cd. This album is incredibly eclectic. Metal, jazz, hard rock, prog, experimental musics, atmospheric soundscapes, electronica (although not the techno form), amongst other sounds drift in and out nearly seamlessly. There are also an array of vocal stylings throughout. Some 'straight' singing, some metallic outbursts, some spoken word/semi-spoken word, some processed vocals, some experimental expressions, some shrieking, and other 'heart felt emissions' (as it says in the booklet). Alessandro Seravalle voice is somewhat deep and ominous, but at the same time very versatile. (Case in point, on the first track there was a part that to me sounded very reminiscent of the great Demetrio Stratos of Area fame.) Finally, this album has a very Italian sound to it, that hard to describe but instantly recognizable modern Italian prog sound. No doubt in my mind upon first listening that this album could have been made in any other country.

Musically, there are two great strengths to my ears. The use of electronic percussion and electronics (which I believe are covered under the soundscapes, synths, and samples banner) and the use of a large group of guests on a wide array of instruments. For me, these elements really make the record stand out in a crowd. Personally, I love the mixing of traditional rock instruments (guitar/bass/drums) with more exotic or classical instruments (flute, bass clarinet, strings, etc) and this album uses them excellently. All instruments are integrated in a way that doesn't sound contrived or unnecessary. Another high point for me, that is even though the vocals play a significant part of the sound, there are plenty of instrumental passages that show the strength of the musicians of the band. Even when the vocals are present the music in the background still demands attention and isn't just there to serve the voice (which is one of my biggest issues with alot of non-instrumental music). Musically, it is hard to compare this CD with others, as it really is a bubbling stew of musical influences and techniques. (I can hear influences as far and wide as the aforementioned Area to Marillion to the modern Italian Symphonic Prog scene to 20th/21st century classical-rock acts. Not to say that Assurdo is derivative in any way of course. Everything is combined in a unique way for certain.) But overall, I would say that the electronic and avant music influences lead the pack. It's hard to pick out favorite moments here. It feels like one whole work with each song evolving into the next with few declarations that the next song has begun. However...standout moments for me would be the powerful opening track which really expresses what this album and band are about in about six and a half minutes, Negative (with it's wonderful use of vibraphone and overall floating/spacey feel that encapsulates your head), and Just Cannot Forget, which really is an experimental joy.

All in all, Assurdo is a wonderful, esoteric CD. I feel no qualms calling this modern progressive rock (thats more on the Avant-rock side of things without being Avant-rock) that's truly forward looking in it's assimulation of sounds, techniques, and musical happenings. If I had a complaint, perhaps it's a bit too long. Or perhaps it's just front heavy, as most of my favorite songs occur within the first half/two-thirds. But, this is a minor quibble overall. The excellence presented here more than makes up for any short comings. The production is crisp and clear, and nothing is obscrued (and a good thing that is too. This is certainly a record that demands modern production skills). Certainly an album that defys the 'prog-metal' tag so don't let that scare you away. However, this is a demanding listen, which, more likely than not, will take a fair number of spins to fully appreciate. I think this could be safely recommended to any fan of avant-prog, modern RPI, or fans of adventours rock/music. Garden Wall show some real potential here and I hope they can create more albums like this. I will certainly be listening in the future. (And of course, many thanks to Claudio Milano for sending me this Cd.) 4 solid stars. Recommended.

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 Assurdo by GARDEN WALL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 53 ratings

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Assurdo
Garden Wall Progressive Metal

Review by Music By Mail

4 stars I must admit that I didn't know Garden Wall very well until this album! Started at the end of the 80's by Alessandro Seravalle, the band has already released 8 albums so it's time to catch up! Assurdo (absurd in English) could be well described as the musical materialization of this special sleeping condition where one's flowing between dream and nightmare, with many of its aspects outlined here.

1. the vision of things is unclear or blurred; like the faces of the musicians pasted and melt into some kind of microcospic plasma in the booklet; or like the many whispered or recitated voices, English and Italian bouncing at times on each other; unreal like the many synthesized sounds or sonic engineering applied to them (reverse speed, quick flanging, electro soundscapes fighting to be some kind of drum track, etc...)

2. the whole thing is unreal; assurdo then? In a way, yes! Everything's possible, forget about logic; nearly every track is made of musical shelves opening other, of collages of sequences, the surprise effect or the abrupt changes being a must; the work of Garden Wall in shaping unreal textures or sonic backgrounds is just phenomenal! Distorded guitars, top-tech sound technologies, careful placing of the ghosts in the stereo field, a lot of work and patience! One bad thing to my taste: the death-thrash spit out vocals, which they call heart-felt emissions! I'd swear it is coming from a much lower part of the body and I don't feel their placement is really valuable, but unreal they are!

3. the scenery in a dream often changes quickly and without any continuity; so does the music: on track one, a spacy violin is pushed away by a hard edged sequence, later cut off by a guitar solo reminding in textures of Popol Vuh's Daniel Fichelscher; on track 9, swirling flutes give place to arpeggiated quiet guitars, replaced by a heavy beat and then another hard sequence, a guitar solo, before returning to quietness with flute, guitar and congas (another minor minus point in that I feel their mix isn't adequate, way too much upfront imo).

4. the breathing in a dream is irregular; and here comes a true tour de force! Garden Wall give you tons of odd meters, with a particular predilection for those built on 7 or 5. But even in a 4/4 feel, they use subdivisions, cross rhyhtms, accent displacements, a true pleasure to follow or drowne in. Track 7 is in this regard one of the most complex of the album; a 4/4 sequence with lots of displaced accentuations is followed by a 8+6 sequence, then a 4/4, replaced by a hard fueled one on 7/4, giving place in an even more syncopated one in 5/8. Hat off!

5. Awakening is the unavoidable end of a dream .... check the last trak!

I could keep up with finding further comparisons; Assurdo is a gentle nightmare keeping your soul busy or relaxed. To achieve this, the band has a broad musical knowledge and references at hand, the necessary tools to fix your dream: from the syncopated funky "Trasfiguratofunky" with Crimsonian guitar cross-lines to the Oriental flavoured guitar of "Flash" (in 7/4!), from a waltz rhythm fighting against an electro beat in track 10 to the majestic climatic ascension of "Vacuum Fluctuation", directly born from Crimson's "Larks' Tongues in Aspic " or "Fracture"; from a jazz guitar solo to the amazing synth and guitar solos of "Trasfiguratofunky; from the wild bowed agony of double bass to the depth of bass flute, from the meditative electronically processed vibraphone to multitracked bass clarinets.

Arpeggiated guitars, odd meters, recitating whispering or shouting voices, giving you cold and warm without warning are finally the tools that I found the most present on this album, an extremely well crafted piece of work (except those vocal fartings), maybe close to a masterpiece?

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 Assurdo by GARDEN WALL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 53 ratings

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Assurdo
Garden Wall Progressive Metal

Review by TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It's fair to be surprised to find out that Assurdo is the 8th release by this band; their first was released in 1993, and yet to date, they have not garnered a very large following. If this album is any indicator of the quality of the rest of their output, then I find myself begging the question - why?

Until I came to this page, I thought I had been lucky enough to stumble on the debut album of a promising young band. The music is fresh and alive, full of ideas and energy. But the band has a sound that is completely their own, and they pull of the compositions on this album with such deftness that I should have immediately recognised that I was listening to a band who had a number of years behind them spent perfecting their craft.

From the opening lines of "Ipebole", the band makes their statement. The mood is dark and aggressive; the rhythm section snakes in and out of the textures provided by the keys while lead singer Allesandro Seravalle paints dark, bleak images with his raspy, growl-like singing (I use growl here more in the animal sense, than the way "growl" is often meant in metal - although there are some growls here as well!). There is a certain Eastern vibe to the music contained on these discs that cannot be denied. But it is not a gimmick, nor does it distract or compete with the rest of the music. It is an ingredient that one cannot imagine being removed from the whole, but that gives the music a bit of an exotic flavour.

Metal lovers, be happy; this is an album with riffs, and there are great riffs. But they are not the focus of this album, but merely another ingredient used to paint the whole picture; the tracks will abandon them for texture, for sound effect and environment, for melody or for vocals where it is appropriate. This is not a "loud" album, either, although it does get loud at a few points. Garden Wall make use of quiet and clean sections to give more meaning to what they do when they get loud and dirty.

My favorite track here is Transfiguratofunky. This is one of the louder and more aggressive tracks on the album, but it also features some crazy, high-pitched tribal-sounding vocals mixed in with the riffs and the sound effects to create a truly fantastic element that simultaneously pumps you up and immerses you in the atmosphere. Other highlights include the eerie "Flash", "Re- Awakening" (which includes some nice flute and reprises the high pitched vocals from Transfiguratofunky), "Negative" and the opener, "Ipebole".

For fans of metal who crave some adventure merged with create playing and compositions, or for adventurous rock listeners who enjoy a bit of metal in the mix, this album is worth a spin. And if you are a fan of prog - then you definitely have to check this album out - it is likely to be one of the top releases of the year.

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 Assurdo by GARDEN WALL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 53 ratings

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Assurdo
Garden Wall Progressive Metal

Review by tmay102436

4 stars Those Italians. What a diverse progressive movement they have had all of these years. And this "Assurdo" by Garden Wall release is a further example of the continued "new progressive" slant on the music scene. I would like to thank Claudio from NICHELODEON for honoring me with a review copy of this CD. It's great to see "kindred spirits" assisting each other in this day of tough economy and no way to really promote these progressive projects.

So, the music. Where do I start? Well, since others have given wonderful reviews, song-by-song, I believe that I will speak only of the overall musical adventure. And what an adventure it is. The style is dark, aggressive, but unlike others that have compared it to "metal," I hear the heavier side as modern edgy prog rock. The vocals are just that - "vocals" - not really singing in the traditional manner. I usually don't like this approach, but here it works absolutely perfectly. There is an array of percussive and melodic instruments used to compliment the very tight, inventive rhythm section. Although not much soloing within the hour or so of music, what is there is impressive and appropriate for the surrounding texture and rhythm. There is even a slight bit (very small) of traditional jazz thrown in quite artistically.

As maybe others have stated, there are ten songs listed, but the songs are sewn together to present an aural statement of dynamic - dramatic music. And even though there is a lot of drama in the sense of powerful sections, there is real art and beauty weaved within the mix to give you a sense of relief, hinting at more, almost violent sections just around the corner.

As I conclude this review, I must say that at first I felt that this was all "too much" - but as we've learned through the many years; that if the story is truly progressive and worth hearing, there are many things to learn and appreciate with every listen. As I enjoyed the second, third and many subsequent spins of the CD, I grew familiar with the music and fell in love with the dramatic reading of well played, professionally produced modern progressive rock.

Even though I will always love the giants of the past with their iconic classic foundation of inventive progressive rock, these Italian musicians are laying a new path of modern construction. While growing and continuing with the progressive music movement, they also honor the beginning of its creation with their slight musical references to the past gods. Bravo to these fine adventurers.

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 Assurdo by GARDEN WALL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 53 ratings

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Assurdo
Garden Wall Progressive Metal

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A great eclectic album by Garden Wall!

Assurdo is the newest album by this Italian band whose first steps take us to the early 90s, however, their sound has been changing with time, and if you listen to this album, you will definitely understand it. Released under Lizard Records, "Assurdo" comprehends ten compositions and a total time of 67 minutes, in which you will listen to heavy stuff (not precisely metal) with some softer and eclectic passages, that make a wonderful release, full of colors and atmospheres, given the vast amount of musicians and instruments that one will find here.

It opens with "Iperbole", a cool introductory track which shows the eclecticism of this album, with strong weird vocals, electronic avant-garde elements, and heavier passages closer to metal. The spacey atmospheres are wonderfully blended with those heavier moments, and the vocals are pretty cool.

"Butterfly Song" starts with a softer sound, with nice drums, a beautiful violin and repetitive far voices. A couple of minutes later the song changes when vocals appear, reminding me a bit of some Patton projects and other avant-garde bands such as Sleepytime Gorilla Museum or even Nichelodeon (thanks Claudio, by the way). I love the inner changes on this track, because you are listening to soft and tranquilizing moments and all of a sudden it explodes and morphs into a powerful and chaotic scenario.

"Transfiguratofunky" follows that path with weird noises and dynamic surprising changes. This is a really wonderful track, with a cool structure, great bass notes that put the funky mood, and amazing African percussions that join after a couple of minutes. There is also a spacey synthesizer that works as background, while some weird voices appear here and there. A keyboard solo appears after four minutes, and makes a delicious sound that one can easily enjoy, it is later complemented by a guitar solo.

"Negative" is one of my preferred tracks here, with a mid-tempo sound, some kind of trip- hop feeling with female voice as background while male spoken words appear. Then just before reaching the third minute the vocals vanish and a new structure appears, with cool atmospheric keyboards. Later the sound of the first part returns and continues like this until the last minute, when a cool and soft vibraphone closes the track.

"Just Cannot Forget" is the shortest composition; a chaotic track with synth noises and a bass clarinet that lead us to "Flash", in which we can listen to both Italian and English male vocals speaking at the same time, while synth and other elements put the background. Later after two minutes an explosion comes and that heavier sound appears. Nice melody and cool sound!

"Clamores Horrendos Ad Sidera Tollit" is another fantastic track, with good keyboard rhythm, soft and heavy vocals accompanied always by some electronic noises. It makes a short stop after two minutes, and then a new structure with acoustic guitars and repetitive bass lines appears. When you think the soft moments will prevail, after four minutes all of sudden it explodes and turns once again into a chaotic track. But well, as you guess later it changes again and puts a new jazzy-like mood for some seconds, before a dark and phantasmagoric sound appears.

"Vaccum Fluctuation" follows with that chaotic and heavier sound of the previous tracks, until fter two minutes it disappears and opens the gates to a wonderful violin accompanied by acoustic guitars and percussion, this passage has mid-eastern flavor, which is really great. Two or three minutes later the violin is replaced by a great guitar riff which sadly only lasts a few seconds, and then the rhythm slows down considerably, making a moment of tranquility. Then the violin returns and the song finishes with that style.

"Re-awakening" has a calm, relaxing and beautiful sound, produced by acoustic guitars and a flute, but it lasts only for a minute, because later a new crazy sound is implemented by vocals, those electronic drums and addictive bass notes. After three minutes a metal-like rhythm appears, with the always inherent guitar riff. But once again, it only lasts a few seconds because the song is constantly changing, in mood, in rhythm, time and tempo, etc. This is one of the virtues of Garden Wall, they really know how to make those dramatic changes, without harming the music, so we as listener do not lose interest.

"Isterectomia" is the last song of this fantastic album, which by the way, is not actually easy to listen and dig. But well, this song is pretty cool, with a delicate flute sound above an electronic background and spoken voice. After two minutes and a half the music almost disappears and only some noises can be heard, creating an ambient of tension; then vocals return and a new structure begins. When you think the song has finished, they surprise us with the last scary and crazy five seconds of noise.

This is a great album by Garden Wall, highly recommendable but I warn you, don't judge at the first listen, you have to give it more chances before you truly enjoy it. Then you will not regret. My final grade will be four stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Assurdo by GARDEN WALL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 53 ratings

BUY
Assurdo
Garden Wall Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. A big thankyou to Claudio from NICHELODEON who sent me this cd. I can appreciate why he's friends with Alesandro as they no doubt share that same adventerous spirit when it comes to music. GARDEN WALL is band i'm very familiar with as this is the fourth album that I own from them. I have always described them as Avant / Metal and we certainly get some of that on here, it's just surprising at how many calm passages there are on here. They are a five piece band with 12 guests helping out. I must admit I wasn't expecting a lot with this latest release only because of some poor ratings i'd seen, so imagine my surprise when I discovered this is my favourite release by them so far. This is just so darn interesting and complex. I've listened to "Assurdo" about 8 times so far and believe me i'm not even close to understanding it. Every listen is different from the last one though so i'm very impressed. I should mention that many of these tracks blend into each other.

A scream signals the start of heaviness in "Iperbole" then we get a calm after a minute. Spoken words and a beat follow then it kicks in hard after 3 1/2 minutes as the tempo picks up. Another calm before 5 minutes with spoken words to end it. "Butterfly Song" has a relaxed beat with atmosphere and violin. Sampled words are repeated. A change 2 minutes in then the vocals follow. The earlier soundscape is reprised. A change after 4 1/2 minutes as it turns brighter then it kicks back in after 6 1/2 minutes with rough but distant vocals. A calm less than a minute later as spoken words and atmosphere end it. "Trasfiguratofunky" has these words "all by yourself" that are repeated over and over then it kicks in but settles back as these words continue. A funky rhythm comes in with vocals. It's experimental with percussion later. "Negative" has a strange intro then guitar and spoken words come in. We get female vocal melodies then those spoken male words return as she continues. It picks up before 4 1/2 minutes with vocals then settles before 6 minutes. "Just Cannot Forget" is haunting with bass clarinet and atmosphere. A change as dissonant horns come in around 2 minutes.

"Flash" has spoken words and sounds that echo and there's other spoken words too. It kicks in with a scream at 2 minutes then settles back before 3 1/2 minutes as a pleasant guitar and drum piece takes over. It kicks in one more time. "Clamores Horrendous Ad Sidera Tollit" opens with experimental sounds and vocals with pulsating keys and cymbals then drums. The vocals are insane. In contrast the music after 2 minutes is beautiful. It kicks into gear after 4 minutes with abrasive vocals then settles a minute later. Creepy spoken words follow then an experimental section comes in and blends into "Vacuum Fluctuation". It turns insane before 2 minutes with vocals then settles back with violin and percussion leading.The guitar lights it up 5 minutes in. Theatrical spoken vocals follow and we get more violin before 7 minutes. "Re- Awakening" opens with gentle guitar and flute, then a beat with creepy vocals comes in after a minute.There's a cool rhythm here. It kicks in with guitar after 3 minutes. So good.There's flute and a mellow soundscape 4 minutes in then it kicks back in with yelling a minute later. It's mellow to end it. "Isterectomia" ends the album. It begins with flute and classical sounds as spoken vocals come and go. It turns darker after 1 1/2 minutes and then we get an eerie calm before 3 minutes. Vocals are back then an instrumental section with flute. We get an insane ending to this song and album.

I highly recommend this album. If you don't mind some added metal to your adventerous music then you'll love this.

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