Exposé Online banner

Garden Wall — Path of Dreams
(Music Is Intelligence WMMS 044, 1994, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-03-01

Path of Dreams Cover artAfter a rough, albeit promising debut, Principium, last year, I was surprised to find that this — Garden Wall's second album, delivers on most of those promises. For sure there are still some rough edges, especially in the vocal department, but for the most part this is powerful progressive rock, gripping and energized, full of metallic eccentricity and lush symphonics, spirited and dramatic. This is the good stuff. Garden Wall is now essentially a duo of Alessandro Seravalle (vocals, guitars, bass, keys) and Mauro Olivo (keys), with drums by Thomas Schaufler — although Schaufler manned the kit on their last outing as well, I assume he's not a full fledged member since they neglected to put him in the band photo. Their music is a metalloid-classically influenced symphonic prog with some folk influences; not an easy one to draw comparisons to, although if pressed I would describe them as Tale Cue meets Asgard with a touch of Van der Graaf Generator, and a sharp metallic edge. They are definitely neo-prog, but not in the conventional sense — whatever influences may have come from Genesis or Marillion are now well assimilated and there are few obvious traces that are identifiable. Most of Garden Wall's music is not dizzyingly complex, yet the arrangements tend to be unusual and interesting, at times twisted and sinister. Path of Dreams is a concept album dealing with subconscious forces, the lyrics are fairly cryptic, and sometimes a bit hyperpoetic, for example: "Hate is magma in deflagration / Bursting out in my contracted viscera / Rage's a blustering storm which consumes the face of God" (from the first verse of "Kaos — The Dream of Hate"). The vocal tracks are replete with lengthy instrumental passages, and four of the album's eleven tracks are purely instrumental, the whole thing clocking in at slightly over seventy minutes. But it was Seravalle's vocals that initially put a damper on my enthusiasm, sounding a bit like a rough, throaty Peter Hammill, actually not a bad singer at all, but he does take some getting used to. In the end, the brilliance of the music overshadows any shortcomings in the vocal department. Overall, I can sum this one up in a single word: Tasty... Recommended highly, especially to fans of bands like Asgard, Calliope, Ezra Winston, even Dream Theater — yet there's a whole lot more going on here than these comparisons might lead one to believe.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 6, 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Garden Wall

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tim Hodgkinson - Pragma – This is a disc of difficult music since the listener must have the discipline to hear the "big picture" and not get caught in a scattering of perceived dissonant ideas. In the composer's own words:...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues