I’ve been sitting on this one for a while now, and I realize that I waited entirely too fucking long to give it the attention it deserves. East of the Wall’s third effort is devastating in the most elegant sense of the word. Well, it also applies to the not so elegant side of it as well. To attempt to define this album with just one genre is a practice in futility. I can say though, that this is the best psychedelic, often instrumental, jazzy, doomy, hardcore, sludge, metal that I’ve heard all year.
The lush expanses each song on The Apologist take you across are absolutely amazing. East of the Wall shift gears with a masterful fluidity and ease weaving together a giant tapestry of vast soundscapes. They carefully craft mountainous walls of sound before destroying them in one fell swoop to leave behind the most delicate melodies only to immediately start building again. The First track “Naif” shows off the multi-faceted approach the music takes right from the start. The first half is very melodic and jazzy before it abruptly does a 180. Things suddenly get right in your face. The vocals adjust accordingly from a soft croon to a red-eyed foaming at the mouth yell.
Each track follows its own unique path of wild twists and turns. It’s safe to say that no two songs are exactly alike. Most aren’t even close. Many make sparse use of vocals like on one of my favorites “False Build.” The music is allowed to breathe for long periods which is great considering the highly adventurous sound can take you on a journey of its own. It grants you the ability to disconnect from and escape the world for a while. Instrumentals such as “Precious Memories” and “Horseback Riding in a Tricycle” do just that. The whirlwind of guitar acrobatics and jazzy basslines is hypnotic. Vocals still punch in at just the right moments on the massive title track and “Functional Tumor” adding to the already diverse plate offered.
You could listen to the properly wielded blasts of noise on the closing track “Underachiever” and feel like your listening to a hardcore band and then listen to one of the instrumentals and think you’re listening to a prog outfit. That’s how much East of the Wall have to offer. ”Whiskey Sipper” shows off how they meld the two with all genres that fall in between. EOTW take you there and back again but use a different path each time. This band clearly understands the true nature of what heavy really is.
The Apologist completely blindsided me. I don’t know what exactly I expected, but this album came along and blew whatever ‘it’ was away. It’s a sonically impressive album that is as beautiful as it is abrasive. Not only does it require your full attention to appreciate, it deserves it. It’s perfect for when you’re not sure what exactly you’re in the mood to listen to. Just put on your headphones, turn out all the lights, and spend some serious one on one time with this album.
Thanks East of the Wall for shaking up my already carefully orchestrated year end list late game(What “best of” list would be complete without this?).