East of the Wall


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East of the Wall's second album, 2010's Ressentiment, represents a major turning point for the New Jersey musos, who officially shut down their various parallel bands to focus entirely on this project, incorporated vocals for the first time into their formerly instrumental format, and linked up with a new, more resourceful record label in Translation Loss to help further their career. These tactical moves should not be misconstrued in any way as concessions, however, but as conviction, since the highly technical and challenging hourlong concept album at hand is unlikely to crop up on any commercial music charts. No, although there are plenty of atmospheric settings and softer musical dynamics spread across Ressentiment's conceptual suite, a U-turn toward East of the Wall's more savage musical roots in hardcore and metal is never far away -- make that rarely even one song away. In the simplest terms, the group combines the post-metal eclecticism of Isis with the epileptic metalcore of Converge, sprinkling in math-metal equations and art rock abstracts along the way (even progressive death-jazz pioneers Cynic come to mind, now and then), and constantly balancing beguiling melodies and jarring dissonance on a sonic knife's edge. The resulting oftentimes exhausting musical smorgasbord certainly isn't for everyone, but will probably become a chosen few's veritable bible -- and one feels East of the Wall's cerebral musical revolutionaries wouldn't have it any other way.

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