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

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Fiery Furnaces - Gallowsbird's Bark, Blueberry Boat, Rehearsing My Choir, EP, & Bitter Tea – A circus medley of distinct musical apparitions like a non-nasal Holy Modal Rounders of the twenty-first century with equal parts Jonathan Richman, The Velvet Underground, and Grease! Hey, Rizzo! ...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues