Band: East of the Wall
Album: NP- Complete
Country of Origin: USA
Release Date: March 29th, 2019
Label: Translation Loss Records
Author: Lady of Prog
Oft described as a “situational art metal band”, East of the Wall once again delivers a stellar album. Adding a certain depth to their sound by combining their metal roots and experimental tastes into one with the release of NP- Complete. I was hooked, and I mean hooked from the moment the word ‘gasp’ drops into your stomach in Tell Them I’m Sorry. As with most progressive metal bands, I would recommend setting yourself up in a comfortable spot with a good view, start the record and do nothing but listen. Np-Complete, in all of its harrowing glory, will transport you to a world where anything is possible because the beauty in the music makes it so. Finding myself noticing harmony and peace within the sound, the drums hit hard and heavy while blending into a symphonic melody as guitar and bass are added to give way to an atmosphere that slowly rises toward lyrical notes.
Space between vocals is filled with instrumental musings that literally sent chills into my mind and down my spine. Symphonic stretches ebb and flow through each song giving the listener enough time to become fully engulfed within the music. There is no sense of urgency as one is gracefully swept into the emotionally powerful vocals that captivate your mind and soul. If you’ve ever felt alone in this world, you will find that familiar reassurance (c’mon everyone, you know what I’m talking about!) while listening to this album from beginning to end. East of the Wall further uses techniques to blur the lines and create juxtaposition that requires no breaks throughout listening as you are thrown between metal, melodic, thrash, to transient, ambient and back to metal all within moments of one another. A hauntingly beautiful voice reminds you that you’re here, and while you may feel alone, lost, broken and confused, you are still alive, and that matters. As the album progresses, I am left with a heaviness in my chest that twists and turns with every fusion created; not only within each individual song but throughout the entirety of the record. As I continue to listen, a united melody is unleashed binding together all of the forces necessary to sink its teeth into you and will keep you listening on repeat. Certain lines are drenched in melancholy but the backing vocals give them a youthful hope that artists are forever searching for.
If you’re as into lyrics as I am, you can find them over at genius.com. Prepare yourself to read through what I felt was a harrowing yet hopeful journey that details a life of confusion, loneliness, and emptiness marbled between moments of wondering exactly what our existence means and a belief that there may be more than what we feel at any given time.
The album concludes with Non-Functional Harmony, and true to its name, the listener is provided with an ending that appears fitting. Adding woodwind instruments, the sound of the album comes together nicely, however I was overcome with grief that the album was over. Yet, surprisingly, I too, felt a sense of hope. I know the album will stick with me for some time, as I’m sure it will with you. As the final vocal line reads, “no reservations, no encore to play. I’m bowing out.” – A perfect conclusion.
Bonus points: Radical song names.