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Garden Wall - Principium CD (album) cover

PRINCIPIUM

Garden Wall

 

Progressive Metal

3.35 | 38 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
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.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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