East of the Wall

Ressentiment

01. The Ladder
02. Salieri
03. Fool’s Errand
04. Wisp Of Tow
05. Ocean Of Water
06. It’s Always Worthwhile Speaking To A Clever Man
07. Fleshmaker
08. Maybe I’m Malaised
09. A Long Defeat
10. Gordian Corridor
11. Handshake In Your Mouth
12. Don’t Stop Bereaving
13. Beasteater

[Translation Loss | 07/20/2010]

Dammit, this album took me a while to write a review for, and I had it before it came out. It always took me a while to get into East of the Wall, as their brand of proggy post-hardcore-meets-post-metal sound was a bit of work to dissect; but throw vocals into an hour long album full of this music, then you have somewhat of a difficult listen. I knew from the get go that East of the Wall’s Ressentiment was good, but how good is it? That took some work.

Some East of The Wall fans were wary of adding vocals to the music and didn’t like the outcome, but I found that both the screams and clean singing were executed quite well, turning the hour long clusterfuck of music (in the best possible way) into something much more listenable in the grand scheme of things. I have a hard time keeping attention to certain instrumentals, and the vocal work solves that problem for me and others that have the same problem. The screaming fits well in with the album’s sludgy and post-metal elements, while the singing provides memorable vocal lines and melodies that cling like the hooks they are. Dammit, I can’t listen to songs like “Fool’s Errand” and “Fleshmaker” without singing or humming along. I’m a sucker for vocal harmonies, and when they happen, they hit the spot.

There’s a lot going on, musically. While other bands force the focus on the guitar or vocal work, everything shines on Ressentiment, with drums and bass doing so much more than just going through the motions. Each and every member know what they are doing, bringing a wide array of musical influences into the fold. You can pick out moments of jazz, sludge, post-metal, and post-hardcore, making for some interesting arrangements and compositions. Beautiful ambient soundscapes flourish between bursts of lumbering tech metal and shifting time signatures. There’s even some experimenting going on in instrumentals, with a brass section in “Salieri,” which capitalizes on the song’s climax. Everything works very tightly in the grand scheme of things, so fans of prog/post anything should find enjoyment in this album.

So, yes. This is a difficult listen, taking multiple playthroughs to wrap your mind around completely. At least, that was the case with me. Although, in the end of it all, East of the Wall’s Ressentiment is a great fucking album. I can see how some would be put off by this behemoth of an album, but it’s definitely worth getting into. I can’t wait to see what these guys can do next, but it turns out we won’t have to wait that long:

“Then in 2011 we’ll be releasing the first record written entirely by the new lineup. We have it almost halfway completed already, and the plan is to not leave any of our fans out to dry. Not to get too specific but we have a pretty big idea for a concept record that’ll span the breadth of everything we’ve done.”

Fucking sweet. I can’t wait. It’ll be hard to top this though, but I’m sure they can nail it.

East of the Wall – Ressentiment gets…

4.5/5

– JR

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