They say great minds think alike. So it can’t be a coincidence that the very column you are reading and the brilliant Romanian progressive metal band White Walls both take their name from Between the Buried and Me now can it?
As the band’s bassist, Șerban, explains:
“Not only were [“White Walls” and Colors (2007)] very influential on us as a whole, but we really enjoyed the interpretation that one is born with ‘white walls’ and the things that we leave behind (be it art, deeds, memories etc) are what we ‘draw’ on those.”
White Walls themselves have released one of the best prog metal albums of 2020 in their third full-length, Grandeur, which is accompanied by an amazing animated video for opener/lead single “Eye for an I”. Șerban elaborates:
“The song came about as most of our songs do, from a guitar demo by Dasu, our guitar player. We took it with us in a writing camp and it came together very naturally. When it came time to choose the singles for Grandeur, “Eye for an I” was an easy choice, seeing how we were all constantly humming the chorus. As for the video, the director (David Pagaille) took a sort of anti-establishment essence out of the song and ran with it, incredibly, while also putting in some twists and turns that fit so well that when he showed us the finished product, we were just stunned. It turned out to be an amazing video, and we’re very proud of the whole thing.”
Give it a watch and then read on to find out which other bands, besides BTBAM, have left their mark on White Walls.
He Is Legend – It Hates You (2009)
Since we’re writing this for Heavy Blog Is Heavy, I’ll get the closest thing to “heavy” that I will write about in this feature out of the way first – it’s very heavy on my heart that this band and their incredible back catalogue of albums isn’t a household name. It Hates You was the first record by He is Legend that I listened to start to finish, and let me tell you, there isn’t a single second of boring music in there. The riffs, the hooks, the choruses, the transitions, the lyrics, the whole Southern vibe and themes, it’s all perfect in my book, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. “That’s Nasty” features one of the heaviest riffs you’ll ever hear (what even is that tuning?!), “Dicephalous” has bass tone for days (like the whole freaking album, actually), and “Mean Shadows” has my favourite chorus in a record filled to the brim with stellar ones. Go listen to this album NOW. Yes, you!
Deftones – Around the Fur (1997)
My deepest, clearest, most crystalline musical memory is hearing “My Own Summer” for the first time on TV when I was about 12 years old. That first riff blew my mind wide open, and inspired a love for Deftones that is still with me, 20 years later. Their mix of heavy and serene inspired me like nothing I’d ever heard before, or since, to be honest. That album turned me into a lifelong fan of theirs, and it had an effect on our band as a whole, too. “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)” is one of the extremely few covers we’ve ever played live as part of a White Walls show. And the way they’ve consistently reinvented themselves while still keeping the essence of Deftones running through their entire catalogue is a spectacular achievement and something we strive for with White Walls.
Thrice – The Alchemy Index (2007)
I’ve only ever truly cried at a concert when I saw Thrice live for the first time in London, and let me tell you, it was the ugly, tears rolling down my face type of crying. There’s something about Dustin Kensrue’s songwriting that has always felt true, honest and heartfelt to me – I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song written by him that didn’t feel genuine. I chose The Alchemy Index – their proggiest, most high-concept effort (4 EP’s each with the theme of one of the classic elements) – here, but really could have went with any of their post-Artist In The Ambulance (2003) records; they have that Deftones getting-older-like-wine quality, and they’ve never disappointed so far. Each one of the 4 EP’s that make up this record is awesome, and the range of songwriting and sounds they achieved is spectacular. Water, the most “electronic” of the EP’s, actually sounds “underwatery” and “flowy”, and Fire is… well, 🔥🔥🔥. Each EP ends with a song written as a sonnet from the POV of the “spirit” of the element and they’re all wonderful.
Agent Fresco – A Long Time Listening (2010)
A friend sent me this album without a word one day. And as I listened to it, I understood there was no need for words: this is simply a wonderful achievement, a beautiful, sad, ecstatic, triumphant ode to life and death, an album that could only come from these four dudes from Iceland. There’s so much beauty in these songs that – ah fuck, I just realised it’s been 5 years since Agent Fresco have released an album and now I’m sad. Thanks a lot, guys.
The Dear Hunter – Act III: Life and Death (2009)
Casey Crescenzo is an angel and a genius. The Dear Hunter is his longest running creative outlet, and most of their releases are part of The Acts, an unfinished (PLEASE release Act VI before I die!) progressive epic orchestral rock juggernaut. These records not only tell a sprawling tale, but also cover a multitude of genres and vibes, and it’s impossible for me to put into words how much amazing songwriting lies in them. Oh and the non-Acts TDH records? Just as fucking good. The Colour Spectrum (2011) is yet another crazy conceptual swing for the heavens, a 9-colour-themed EP journey to everything from industrial rock to earthy indie pop. Migrant (2013), their first non-conceptual outing is also fabulous, All Is As All Should Be (2017) is a beautiful love letter to their fans, and Casey’s brand new solo EP (under the name of Honorary Astronaut) is – wouldn’t you know it – also amazing. I’m basically begging you to check out this stuff by now, but that’s just how much I love it.
John Frusciante – Shadows Collide with People (2004)
One of the first bands that I liked were Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Șerban told me about them, we go way back) and, man, John Frusciante really grew on me. I basically fell in love with him as a musician. His voice, songwriting, view on music is phenomenal and unique, he’s a genius from my point of view. He is a very big influence not necessarily on my guitar playing, but on my musical ideas. I think that this can be felt on all the White Walls records, there’s a sadness and melancholy that has some roots in his music. Heaviness isn’t always in the riffage and low tunings.
Burst – Lazarus Bird (2008)
I don’t remember how I found out about Burst but I can tell you it was love at first sight… or first listen, should I say. Lazarus Bird is a brilliant album, it’s exactly up my alley, I can’t think of another record with riffs that I like this much. The guitar work is exceptional and the songwriting is, also, stellar.
Godsmack – Faceless (2003)
Shannon Larkin is the reason why I’m playing drums today. When I was little I liked very much the video game Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within (2005). In that game, when your enemy was chasing you, the guitar riff from the song “I Stand Alone” was always playing and I become fascinated with that song, started listening to them and the journey of my life was just beginning.
Dream Theater – Images and Words (1992)
Not very much to say here. As a kid and a beginner drummer, when I discovered Mike Portnoy I was just speechless. His drumming changed my view about drums and music and he is one of my heroes.
Avenged Sevenfold – Avenged Sevenfold (2007)
Huge Rev fan here and Synyster Gates is one of my favorite guitar players. I’ve been obsessed with this album for some time.
Bullet For My Valentine – Fever (2011)
My 6th grade was Fever, basically. I remember very well going to the park after school and playing Bullet For My Valentine from our phones. Me and my best friend from that time were huge BFMV fans. Before the album came out it was the first time I felt the thrill for an upcoming album. I’ll never forget that feeling and it was awesome sharing that with my buddy.
Ghost – Infestissumam (2013)
I was blown away by just how good the songs are in their simplicity. I just liked every song on this album and that doesn’t happen very often. The atmosphere they create and how Ghost sing about Satan in that gentle and polite manner still amazes me.
Eugen (vocals) :
Björk – Debut (1993)
Oh man what an album this is. In my opinion Björk has one of the greatest voices on the planet. When I was a kid and listened for the first time to “Human Behavior,” “Venus As A Boy” and “Violently Happy” I was hooked!
Jeff Buckley – Grace (1994)
This album left me speechless. Jeff is one of my favourite singers. The way his voice sounds, the vocal melodies, the fast vibrato, I love it all! Definitely a strong influence for me.
Grandeur is out now. Why not go and pick it up on bandcamp and pick up some of their sexy merch while you’re at it?