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White Walls - Grandeur Award winner

White Walls
Grandeur
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 14 October 2020, 7:08 AM

Hailing from the Romanian shores of the Black Sea, the Progressive Metal outfit WHITE WALLS plays a mix of darkness and light, relentless riffs and melancholy chords, explosion and restrain. Their music bears influences from many different genres of metal, and has been compared to diverse acts such as THE POSTMAN SYNDROME, TEXTURES, THE OCEAN, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, OPETH, TOOL, KARNVOOL, AND EXTOL. “Grandeur” is their latest release, and contains eleven tracks.

“False Beliefs” and “Eye for an I” are packaged as one track. It opens with clean guitar chords and the really pretty voice of Virgil Eugen Brudaru. Then, the main riff drops, and it’s heavy and aggressive. The vocals turn harsh as well, then clean in the chorus, with beautiful harmony. I like the back and forth between harsh verses and clean choruses. “Home is on the Other Side” opens with a slow, grinding riff and harsh vocals. The ethereal passage that follows is done with a great sense of harmony in the vocals. “Holy Worse” opens with bass guitar notes, clean guitars and clean vocals. Virgil really swoons here, and if you can’t feel the emotional notes in his voice, you might want to check your pulse, because you could be dead.

“Velvet” opens with a simple 80’s guitar riff and clean vocals. It darkens with the harsh vocals and heavier passages. The harsh passages are absolutely agonizing…they really strike you deep in your stomach. “Speaking in Tongues” is under three-minutes in length. Opening with a weighted riff, the vocals are dreamy, while the bass fuzzes underneath. Again, the harsh passages are deadly, and they know how to make easy transitions between the two. “Starfish Crown” opens with clean and doleful guitar notes, leading to a faster moving sound without too much aggression. I love the way the band uses the bassist to carry the melody when the guitars are in the background. I also like the ethereal sound in the verses. This is obviously a seasoned band with strong songwriting skills. The melodies here are done so well.

“Locked-in Syndrome” opens with a biting riff and clean vocals, that quickly go harsh. For vocalist Virgil to be able to handle both is pretty impressive. In the chorus, they come together like a mongoose and a viper, locked together in mortal battle. “Month’s End” opens with a heavy riff and harsh vocals. Cleans in the chorus once again are done with nice, melodic touches. The bridge after the second chorus features some electronica to go along with the dreamy vocals. It ends on some heavy, chugging notes. “The Descent” is just under seven-minutes in length, opening with a weighted, slow moving riff and harsh vocals. The cleans in the chorus shine brightly, as a beacon over stormy seas. From there, the heavy guitars continue, but the vocals remain clean.

“The Slaughter (Marche Funèbre)” opens with what sounds a bit like Egyptian influenced music to me. It carries a majestic sound. What follows are flowing vocal harmonies, while the bass guitar stands out. Around the half-way mark, the sound drops, to just emotive vocals and clean guitar notes that have a solemn quality to them. It builds to a crescendo and the slowly wanes, with Virgil repeating the same vocal line over and over, “just go on ahead.” Wow, this was truly an amazing album. How these guys are not signed to a major label really escapes me. Their sense of timing and transitions in and out of these Progressive sequences sets them apart as seasoned, experienced musicians. They don’t let the technical wankery that often accompanies the genre take over their music, but instead play better with melodies, textures, and heavy, crushing sequences that shake your foundation to its core. Bravo to this quartet from Romania!

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. False Beliefs
2. Eye for an I
3. Home Is on the other Side
4. Holy Worse
5. Velvet
6. Speaking in Tongues
7. Starfish Crown
8. Locked-in Syndrome
9. Month’s End
10. The Descent
11. The Slaughter (Marche Funèbre)
Lineup:
Alexandru Eduard Dascălu – Guitars
Virgil Eugen Brudaru – Vocals
Șerban-Ionuț Georgescu – Bass, Backing Vocals
Theodor-Ștefan Scrioșteanu – Drums, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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