East Of The Wall - The Apologist
It took me several spins and some digging, but when I realized East of the Wall were a New Jersey product of the highest quality, something in me just wanted to jump for joy. Nevermind the fact that I'd never heard of them prior; this means nothing, my attention has not been as keen on music in the past year or two as it should have been. Also, I would regard the foundation of East of the Wall's sound as something I do not often dabble in; hardcore. But The Apologist shows a band that is truly only working from a foundation of simplicity; they expound upon it in such creative ways that to digest the entire album, front to back, takes repeated listens. It's not so much in the flavor of technical over-compensating, it's got more to do with a quality of songwriting that sucks you in and keeps you stuck on a song far longer than you'd expect. Their sound is a shifting anomaly, breathlessly moving from an intense, pummeling rage to a placid, disturbingly beautiful harmonic oasis. It never leaves you room to contemplate another direction; they take every road available and in the process have created a true diamond in the rough.
"Naif" exemplifies this with every sharp turn, from the grating distortion at it's start to the virtuoso bass lines that drive the mid-paced groove (when the percussion isn't working up through the mix to add an altogether different layer of pummeling brutality). All this in exactly 3 minutes. "Linear Failure" couples a surprisingly catchy and standard hardcore body being orbited by a melodic, jazz-y satellite. It seamlessly shifts into "My Favorite Society Guy", one of the best instrumental offerings I've heard in quite some time. It actually brings to mind some of Rush's finer moments, it is that well-written and executed. The riffage of "False Build" is something I simply cannot tire of; my first listen to The Apologist was held up on this track for the better part of an hour. "Precious Memories" coils and unravels like a cobra, and I am beginning to think the rhythm section is something out of a progressive metal fan's wet dream. The title track, more than anything, expresses the duality of clean/rough vocals that, in other bands, I would tend to shun as one being weaker than the other. Not the case in this instance, as the added melodic and atmospheric tones play right into the hand's of the evolution of the track. And this sort of praise, frankly, continues for the rest of the album, and I will conserve my words so as to let the full experience surprise you as much as it did me.
Why haven't I heard of East of the Wall prior to this? Again, doesn't matter. I will be diving into their back catalog with a fierce intensity soon enough. What really matters is that The Apologist is one of the best metal albums you're going to hear this year. This band has talent that goes on for days, and their ability to draw it all in and cohesively write these type of memorable songs is something that demands an audience. It is almost the most pleasant of surprises to be totally side-swiped by a previously unknown entity, and The Apologist leaves the kind of impact that cannot be ignored.
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