Progressive rock and metal used to be terms for a specific group of bands who preferred to use long songs, difficult and elaborate song structures and often mind boggling concepts. Nowadays it’s used for every band with slightly technical edge or an off-beat approach to songwriting. New Jersey-based East Of The Wall add their own stamp to the word “progressive” with their new album, entitled “The Apologist”.
East Of The Wall doesn’t have much in common with more traditional progressive metal bands, like Dream Theater, Opeth or Riverside. There aren’t endless guitar vs keyboard battles, 20 minute epic tracks or falsetto styled vocals to be heard on “The Apologist”. The band plays a hybrid of sludge metal, postcore, stoner rock and freestyle jazz. Old Mastodon, Isis, Converge and Today Is The Day are good references in that regard.
The musical prowess of the individual band members is astonishing, but they use their skills to cement the song material, instead of the other way around. This is a good thing, because tracks like ‘Running Tab Of Sweetness’, ‘A Functional Tumor’, ‘Precious Memories’ and ‘Whiskey Sipper’ benefit greatly from this approach. Diversity and a dauntless feeling for musical adventure are other elements which make “The Apologist” such a memorable effort. ‘False Build’ and ‘My Favourite Society Guy’ are other clear examples of the considerable talent of these guys.
The production of “The Apologist” may be somewhat of an turn-off for people who prefer are more polished sound. It’s really rough around the edges, but it does give the album an urgent feeling of honesty and a particularly nasty edge to boot.
“The Apologist” by East Of The Wall will thrill people with a taste for adventurous, cutting-edge and highly original music. I prefer this record over any release by Dream Theater or Opeth.