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(64 min, Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Please Wait 0:44 2. Caesura 8:21 3. Luna 9:44 4. Oxymoron 5:27 5. Bottom 10:34 6. The Four 8:35 7. Inadeguato 5:50 8. Tome 5:23 9. Cursed Nature 6:45 10. Ser Stille Entgegen 3:12 All music & lyrics: by Seravalle. Arranged & produced by Garden Wall. LINEUP: Alessandro Seravalle - vocals; electric guitar, e-bow; keyboards Raffaello Indri - electric & acoustic guitar; guitar-synth Pino Mechi - Chapman Stick Camillo Colleluori - drums
Prolusion. The new GARDEN WALL album, "Towards the Silence", was initially planned to be the third part of the "Forget the Colors" trilogy, following "Aliena(c)tion", which was composed and recorded long before it. Later, however, the band found it more logical to rearrange the order, releasing "Towards the Silence" first. Related reviews: here and here.
Analysis. It was about eight years ago that I bought the first three Garden Wall CDs in Moscow and, after hearing them, just fell in love with this Italian band's creation. Here is their sixth effort, and I am still wondering at their ability to continuously transform their style, never loosing a sense of proportion and always retaining their natural feel of originality. Some of the directions the band appeals to on "Towards the Silence" are totally new for them and they don't concern Metal. Despite this fact, the album is some heavier, harsher and darker even than its predecessor, which has given the title to the trilogy and was the band's heaviest album until now. Two out of the ten tracks: Please Wait, taking the first position, and its track list counterpart, Ser Stille Entgegen, are instrumentals and are the softest, relatively though. The former is an acoustic guitar piece; the other is electronic soundscapes, while the music is anxious in both cases. None of the other tracks features acoustic guitar or keyboards either, and although, as implied above, the contents are at times absolutely free of heaviness, the atmosphere remains disturbing and bleak. It must be said the heaviest compositions, Caesura and Oxymoron, are the most intricate and unusual. I don't know what is Caesura, but Oxymoron, which means an ideal union of absolute oppositions, very well reflects the essence of each. The music is earth-shatteringly paradoxical, but the tried Prog lover will find it astonishingly impressive, due to its high singularity above all. It's beyond comparison, but this is that rare case when I feel I must act in the teeth of the fact to be more or less intelligible to the readers. If you have heard Mekong Delta's "Dances of Death" and Present's "No 6", imagine something average between them or, at least, imagine a cross between the Belgian-school RIO (Univers Zero, Finnegan's Wake) and the most violent Prog-Metal (Voivod, Atheist). Can't you? Indeed, the genres are too different to combine them even mentally, but Garden Wall managed to do that in practice. No repetitions in this kingdom of perfectly beautiful angularities, the charming dance of everlasting musical force majeur. (No contradiction in my words: oxymoron rules:-). May God help you to not get stuck here, and you will be rewarded. Adrenalin is better than hell. The further journey is equally interesting, but it's less dangerous for the beginners or the unprepared. The epic centerpiece, Bottom, is a false-bottomed music and is another hitch. Space Fusion with elements of Techno Metal and many authentic improvisations, it has a unique Jazz-Fusion interlude where the interplay between the four musicians is at its culmination and where is one of the greatest guitar solos you've ever heard within the genre. Fans of Watchtower and Cynic, please take this into consideration. On each of the other tracks: Luna, The Four, Inadeguato, Tome and Cursed Nature the band balances between the primary style (with less RIO features though) and atmospheric, yet, extremely unusual, full of mystery Space Rock. This will be somewhat a masked ball for anyone. Upon the first spin, the music on these may seem to be not too complex. Just give them another listen, and you will want to have more and more; there are so much of hidden paths and nuances, all being essential. As usual, the band's main man, the extraordinary chameleon singer Alessandro Seravalle, uses his voice as a soloing instrument, covering here probably more different vocal levels than ever before.
Conclusion. "Towards the Silence" is an intelligent, non-conformist, truly elitist music, which fully does justice to the Garden Wall name. I don't understand those labeling their music just "Metal", which would've never happened had they given it more than one listen. I assert this is incredibly demanding stuff forcing the listener to concentrate, fully getting away from surrounding reality. I recommend "Towards the Silence", as well as any of the band's albums, right from the heart and with a clear conscience. Top-20-2004
VM: April 20, 2005
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