Lion Music is single-handedly catering to the needs of the fans of guitar virtuosos and instrumental music fans. However, it can be quite a chore to listen to instrumental albums, because they may end up being nothing more than a bunch of guitar players one-upping each other, instead of doing what they should do, write songs. Plus, in the press release kit about this album, Marco Ferrigno had this to say:
“I am very pleased for the upcoming release of this album. I had the freedom to use various types of odd tempos, poly-rhythmic lines and time modulations based on a 16th and 8th note pulse. Solos are based on a lot of the melodic minor modes like Mixolydian b6 and Lydian b7 along with the usual major scale modes but with less of the modal soloing and more chord modulations. Chords are basic triad inversions with changing base notes most of the time, but many are suspended and 7th chords and a few chords are based on quartal harmony for a more modern sound”.
It's describing some advanced music theory and it sounds like total jargon for the common music listener, which could make it seem like record was downright pretentious. I gladly report that it isn’t. Yes, Marco Ferrigno is a very skilled guitar player, with immense technical ability and precision, but he knows when to play a simple melody or a single note instead of a blazing scalar run or an arpeggio pattern, the latter two which are also featured on this album in tasteful abundance.
Musically, most of “Hanging Gardens” sounds a bit like the instrumental sections in DREAM THEATER’s “Images and Words”, with a precise beginning, middle and end to all of the songs, with an excellent dynamic build. The guitar leads seem to have been composed and they do an EXCELLENT job in both being in the foreground and in accentuating the rhythm behind it.
Speaking of which, Marco Ferrigno got Tony Franklin on bass and a fellow by the name of Marco Minnemann, so the rhythm section of “Hanging Gardens” is just as dynamic and vibrant as the lead playing.
Highlights include “Secret Garden”, for the beautiful flamenco guitar player, “Temple of Time” & “Closer To The Wind”.
(Online October 23, 2006)