East Of The Wall – NP – Complete

It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly East Of The Wall is and this is a double edged sword in many aspects. Calling them a progressive band would be like calling a spade a spade: the music follows all the staples and notions of the genre, but, as a label, it still does not fit comfortably, especially with their new release NP – Complete (Translation Loss Records).

A lot rougher around the edges and rawer than some of their more pristine contemporaries, East Of The Wall bare more similarities to older progressive bands such as Spiral Architect and Thought Industry than, say, Dream Theater or Periphery: their overall sound is jaded, coarse, sonically challenging and doesn’t pander to catchy choruses or other less progressive song structures. As a result, this might be a difficult release for newer fans of progressive genres to fully understand.

The band’s sound is a mixture of contemporary and historical influences: elements from bands such as Tool, Karnivool, The Contortionist and the aforementioned Spiral Architect and Thought Industry. With that being said, the band have clearly worked hard to try and craft a sound of their own instead of just standing on the shoulders of their influences.

The longer songs on the record, such as ‘The Almost People’, ‘Clapping on the Ones and Threes’ and ‘Non-Functional Harmony’, feel a lot more thought out than their shorter songs like ‘Lienholder’ and ’N of 1’ and these longer tracks are where the band shines with fruitful musical ideas which grow over the course of the track: the shorter tracks feel like leftovers pieced together between these compositions.

Unfortunately, the production of the album drops the ball for the band. Though it may be a stylistic choice for the album to sound raw and unpolished, the longer tracks really deserve that dynamic sonic treatment which would allow them to feel more immersive for the listener instead of feeling flat and almost a chore to get through.

NP – Complete is a conflicted album: on the one hand, it is a fantastic throwback to the earlier days of Progressive Metal, where it was rougher around the edges and not concerned with catchiness. On the other hand, however, the production really lets the band’s songwriting down by not allowing the dynamic sonic treatment these songs need and deserve.

6 / 10

CALUM FARQUHAR