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Album Review: EAST OF THE WALL Redaction Artifacts

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The term "progressive" gets thrown around in heavy metal. There are many progressive bands out there that find a sound that breaks a little ground, then put out nothing but albums of that one sound. Or worse, there will be a movement in which dozens of band begin to release similar albums and go back and forth ripping each other off. This renders the whole idea entirely meaningless. Sure, one could argue that it is essentially just a genre label like alternative or indie are now, but frankly, I don't want to.

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Luckily, East of the Wall prove the idea of being a progressive metal band that progresses their sound is alive.

New Jersey's three-guitared quintet have been one of the few bands I can think of that have always topped their previous record in every way. In doing so, they have expanded their sound and (you guessed it) progressed.

Their awesome debut Farmer's Almanac was entirely instrumental. Their second album, Ressentiment, had the band stepping out of the silence and introduced vocals. 2011's The Apologist had the band introducing fresh musical directions into their sound and was a hidden gem in the metal world. I honestly expected their third album to be the peak for the band. To my pleasant surprise, Redaction Artifacts takes everything that worked on that album and one-ups it.

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There are more complex song structures, more atmosphere, more chaos, more melody, more beauty, more ugliness, more musical directions, etc. It isn't simply that they are pushing previous elements that worked further, but rather that the band takes what worked on their previous albums and infused this record with even more new ideas.

There is a post metal feel at times that hasn't been this prevalent before, there is a haunting acoustic song, and even a dark indie feel at times.

One could make comparisons to sludge proggers like BaronessMastodon, and The Ocean, but in that same breath one would have to reference so many other acts that East of the Wall's spirit can be compared to. The band's ability to turn genres on a dime is akin only to Between The Buried and Me and Dream Theater. Math-rock bands like TTNG, Ghosts and Vodka, and any thing Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has a hand in come to mind due to the wonderfully awkward guitar work. Parts of this album even remind me of fucking Radiohead. This record is all over the place and I love it for that.EOTW_1_GRAIN_Kinkade_DSC9802

Long time fans expecting the band has gone soft due to more melody and atmosphere should not be deterred. "Excessive Convulsive" and "I'm Always Fighting Drago" showcase the band at it's most dissonant and heavy. The album's opener, "Solving the Correspondence Problem," on the other hand presents a balance of classic EOTW heaviness with math rock tapping and melody. "Obfuscator Dye" takes the listener to a Cult of Luna style post metal journey before jumping into some late-era Mastodon technicality.

East of the Wall manage to present every aspect of their sound in the album's grand finale "Noir Filter." This on song perfectly encapsulates the entire album.

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Without hyperbole, this is the band's greatest work and one of the finest records of the year.


Redaction Artifacts drops October 29th.

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