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Jardin de Piedra biography
Hailing from Peru, JARDIN DE PIEDRA were first formed in 2003 as a four-piece. After the sudden demise of guitarist/keyboardist Julio César Valdizán, the band went on hiatus for a while, then started writing again. In 2007, the band acquired a new member, guitarist Carlos Vicente, formerly with ORESTES, who helped them with the writing of their new material.

Their debut album, "Mapa Universo", released in the spring of 2009, features both older and more recent compositions. Their music blends psychedelia, metal stylings, and influences from progressive bands such as PINK FLOYD and KING CRIMSON, as well as ?90s alternative bands such as TOOL and A PERFECT CIRCLE.

Raffaella Berry (Raff)

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3.92 | 5 ratings
Mapa Universo

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 Mapa Universo by JARDIN DE PIEDRA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.92 | 5 ratings

Mapa Universo
Jardin de Piedra Heavy Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars One of the most solid surprises that has come to grace the current prog rock scene in South American is Jardín de Piedra, a Peruvian quartet that has just released a very interesting debut album entitled "Mapa Universo" (May of 2009). From its earlier stages, the band has steadily elaborated a gradual growth in its experimental awareness for its underground framework. Having started as an outfit heavily influenced by the stylish anger of complex grunge ("Superunknown"-"Down On the Upside" era Soundgarden), the sophisticated stamina of Tool and the ethereal muscle of Radiohead (pre-"Kid A"), Jardín de Piedra eventually became explicitly involved in abundant psychedelic jams and ostentatious atmospheres that brought back references from pre-"Meddle" Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Amon Düül II, as well as shades from the post-rock and stoner standards. "Mapa Universo" is, literally, a 70+ minute travel since it documents the band's historical journey from potential prog (first 4 tracks) to actual prog (last 4 tracks) in a meticulous chronological order. The album opens up with a brief cosmic synth intro that settles the core atmosphere for the intense dual guitar bursts, kept well ordained by the gutsy and controlled rhythm duo. The track's dreamy textures meet a solid counterpart in both the stormy guitar riffs and the incisive bass lines. A similar mood is retained for the next track, 'Hora Celeste', whose combination of languid energy and slow tempo successfully conveys the lyrics' existentialist overtones. 'Nimbos' leans closer to the typical framework of alternative rock semi-ballads: anyway, what sets this song apart from other mainstream- oriented songs is the effective addition of psychedelia-driven heavy ornaments in the dual guitar inputs, which has amazing repercussions in the track's dramatic feel. 'Piedras que Arrastra el Mar' seems to conjure moods from the preceding two pieces simultaneously, in this way completing the sonic picture that has been drawn so far. The brief instrumental 'Canción de Cuna Para un Mundo Enfermo' is just a 3-minute guitar duet that exorcises desires to contemplate the hidden corners of the self. It also serves as an interlude between the album's first and latter halves - the last 4 tracks are the most notably prog-laden in the album. 'Ruidos Mecánicos en la Luna' is the first explicit exhibition of bombast and expanding ambition delivered by the band, predominantly signaled by soaring cadences and powerful ambiences, in this way creating an energetic equilibrium between the nebulous and the punchy. This track sets the basic ground for the germination of the three remaining tracks, conveniently so, since their durations demand a sort of catapult. 'Mandala' sets a starting point filled with exotic guitar lines and Arabic rhythms in a very krautrockish fashion ? the lysergic effect is well accomplished, and this is just the beginning of the track, mind you! Once the band has gone over the 4 ˝ minute mark, the instrumentalists indulge in some sonic flourishes that alternate the spacey fury of stoner rock and the reflective eeriness of post-rock. Eventually, the escalation toward the end feels consistently robust. 'La Desaparición del Reino de la No Razón' bears patent signs of constrained tension right from the beginning. The atmospheric density brought about by the cosmically tinged prelude evolves into a powerful crescendo that is clearly effective yet not redundant. Just before it seems that things are going to explode quite wildly, shortly before the 4 minute mark, the band withdraws into a new exercise on free-floating melancholy that leads to autumnal airs and foggy flares, al the way toward the crepuscular, laid-back coda. The namesake track closes down the album, which revamps the previous piece's melancholic drive and instills an electrifying fire into it. The use of occasional jazz- rock tricks in the track's rhythmic development is a very useful extra element concerning the preservation of constant dynamics in an 11 minute span. This track and track 9 are, IMHO, the album's absolute highlights - although it is fair to say that the whole "Mapa Universo" experience is an art-rock delight from start to finish. Jardín de Piedra is a band to pay serious attention from now on and from any place in the world.
Thanks to raff for the artist addition.

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