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WHITE WALLS

Progressive Metal • Romania


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White Walls biography
Founded in Constanța, Romania in 2009

WHITE WALLS is a new metal band from Constanţa, Romania. The band rose from the former hardcore / metalcore pioneer project PROTEST URBAN and formed officially on April 25, 2009, and has been extremely active ever since. The band won prizes in each of the three major competitions they entered: Stufstock Newcomers, Maximum Rock and Global Battle Of The Bands. Also, the band is very busy playing live, which led it to sharing stages with some of their major musical influences such as THE OCEAN, EAST OF THE WALL and RADARE. The debut album was released as a free download and regular CD via the netlabel Asiluum Records in October 2010.

The music of WHITE WALLS is a very progressive metalcore with great variety that the band calls 'dynamic progressive metal'. The vocals range from extremely harsch hardcore vocals to uplifting clean vocals, always fitting to the exceptionally diverse instrumental content, ranging from thrashy leads and speedy runs to melodic build-ups, permanently deconstructed with surprising juxtapositions, silent acoustic breaks and moments of remarkably tight fusion-like interplay. In consequence, the album feels like just one piece of music with the tracks flowing into a greater sum, providing an enhanced listening experience.

A very promising new band, WHITE WALLS is recommended to fans of BETWEEN THE BURRIED AND ME, EAST OF THE WALL, THE OCEAN, MASTODON, PERIPHERY or TESSERACT.

Bio by Alex (harmonium.ro)

See also: HERE

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WHITE WALLS discography


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WHITE WALLS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 10 ratings
Mad Man Circus
2010
4.11 | 9 ratings
Escape Artist
2013
3.53 | 6 ratings
Grandeur
2020

WHITE WALLS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

WHITE WALLS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

WHITE WALLS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

WHITE WALLS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Death Follows Me
2016
4.00 | 1 ratings
Starfish Crown
2020

WHITE WALLS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Grandeur by WHITE WALLS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.53 | 6 ratings

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Grandeur
White Walls Progressive Metal

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

Romanian band White Walls make me think of Ihlo. Not because they sound alike, because they don't, but rather because, though I've not actually read any reviews for their third and latest album, Grandeur, I can well imagine people almost competing to say who the band sounds like. However, I'm willing to bet that, like Ihlo, there will be very little agreement as to who the band sound like. Like Ihlo, there will probably be some similarities between the bands offered up for comparison, but each of them will have their own original sound. And like Ihlo, White Walls very much have their own sound, too. There's not a single song on Grandeur that I think sounds much like any one other band. But, just to be obtuse, if you're a fan of Leprous, Nevermore, Gojira or Ihlo, you might want to check out White Walls. Do I think they really have (m)any similarities to any of those disparate sounding bands? Well, no. At least, not in sound. In talent, however?

White Walls are one of those bands I've come across this year that I feel genuinely upset that I wasn't aware of otherwise. The sort of band I feel are criminally unknown ? in this case, probably due to their geographic location more than anything else, as they are as talented and enjoyable to listen to as any of the bands they might be compared with. Not only is Romania probably furthest from the minds of many music listeners, when the country does come up it's for the fierce blackened folk of celebrated bands such as Negura Bunget. Perhaps that's why the band have chosen such a vibrant colour scheme for their cover art? There's certainly no mistaking Grandeur for black metal. They are, however, surprisingly heavy. Well, perhaps not so surprising if you're familiar with the band, or have paid any attention to the promotional material. But I always like to dive into new music with no preconceptions, and as little knowledge as possible of what I'm about to hear.

The album begins with what is essentially one track. It is listed as two on the Bandcamp page, but came as one track in the copy I received for review, which makes more sense to me as the two are irrevocably paired in my mind. And it is this pairing that left me unprepared for what was to come, as the short first part (False Beliefs) is hard to be described with any adjectives not synonymous with beauty and prettiness. Virgil Eugen Brudaru's vocals are the focal point, sounding somewhere between Jon Anderson, Damien Wilson and Daniel Tompkins in their power and emotional impact. The last of those is the closest indication of what I thought the song might evolve into ? something somewhere between the worlds of TesseracT and White Moth Black Butterfly. Oh holy [&*!#], no. Eye For An I comes in and bludgeons any such thoughts into a bloodied and beaten mess. As the last delicate notes of False Beliefs fade, deep distortion kicks in, followed by a huge increase in pace and some brutally delivered harsh vocals.

What Eye For An I does well, is provide a grounding for what the rest of the album entails ? a constantly moving conglomeration of harsh and heavy, and clean and melodic. This is no Opeth-style melodic death metal, with clean breaks between the heavy and the melodic. There's no translations as such, as it's all so greatly and fluidly integrated. There's a catchy mix of complex and chuggy riffs (Alexandru Eduard Dascălu), underscored by a rhythm section (Șerban-Ionuț Georgescu on bass, and Theodor-Ștefan Scrioșteanu on drums) that is insanely groovy, with bursts of breathtaking syncopation. Perhaps key to it all is the vocals of Virgil Eugen Brudaru, whose strong and powerful vocals perfectly bridge the contrasting nature of the free flowing music. Both his clean and harsh vocals' are amazing (and I say that as someone who has never been a fan of harsh vocals), and really emphasises the dynamic between the two,

I love the bass heavy intro to Home is on the Other Side, which is a far heavier proposition than what's come before. I love the way I was both jolted by the heaviness of Eye For An I, and simultaneously eased into the heavier Home is on the Other Side, and this is I think due to two things: some very well thought out sequencing from the band, and the (as usual) impeccable work of Forrester Savell, who mixed and mastered the album. Even when the clean vocals come in, and the sound becomes more expansive, the pulsating bass carries on pummelling. Holy Worse is notable for making far more of a distinction between harsh and clean, essentially having aggressive verses and a melodic chorus. It sounds tailor-made to be a single, and having a more conventional structure than much of the album, would likely work well as such. Then again, I'm glad it hasn't been released, for as much as I love it, it's perhaps the least original and least representative of what the band sounds like.

Velvet, which follows, is for me a far better representation of what White Walls do so well, wonderfully ebbing and flowing between their two musical poles, and mixing like the oceans between them. It also has some of the most impressive moments from all members of the band. Definitely a favourite of mine, as smooth as the soft touch of velvet, and as stinging as having a strap of that same velvet tan your hide. Speaking in Tongues is the shortest track on the album, after False Beliefs, but should definitely not be discounted on account of it's length. It packs as much into its shorter length as the longer tracks do, and because of this it is another favourite. (Which is rare for me, as I almost always favour longer tracks.

Then we come to perhaps the most surprising track of the album, not so much because of how it sounds, but because it was chosen as the lead single ? and features only clean vocals! If I were surprised by the harsh vocals after hearing False Beliefs, but realistically had no idea what to expect, imagine how someone who heard this song might feel upon listening to the album! That's not to say it doesn't play with the same dynamics, as it certainly does, with plenty of aggressive and heavy passages playing off against the more melodic. And it's undeniably an impressive and enjoyable song. I really like it, but it does feel a bit out of place, and perhaps might have been best as a stand-alone single. I feel I'm betraying myself somewhat, as not being a fan of harsh vocals, I find myself strangely missing them here!

It almost seems that Locked-In Syndrome is easing us back into the harsh element of the band, as, despite the heavier passages, it feels a quite serene and relatively peaceful endeavour. I love the breakdown towards the end, where the band uses empty space incredibly effectively. It's the second time on the album they've done this, and I'm pleased they don't overuse the trick, or it would not be so impactful. Speaking of impactful, I have to mention the bass again, as he excels on Month's End. Not that I think the band sounds like them at all, but I'm reminded of Tool in a way, because while I would never say that Adam Jones is the least important member of that band, his guitar work is often textural, with Justin Chancellor providing, for me, much of the scaffolding. The same can be said, again in my opinion only, for riffs Alexandru Eduard Dascălu and Șerban-Ionuț Georgescu. Apart from the awesome bass, this song also has the biggest ear-worm on the album.

Wary of how long this review has become, I'll skip The Descent, which is definitely not something I'd recommend you do, and head straight for The Slaughter (Marche Funèbre), as it's titled on my copy (though just as Marche Funèbre on Bandcamp), which is surely one of the most impressive, if not the most impressive, track on the album. Do I dare mention the bass again? I have to, as the introduction to this song is amazing! The whole song is amazing, though, from beginning to end, and the final moments of this lengthy track are sublime. Grandeur, indeed. The album is atmospheric, balanced and expansive, and mixed to perfection. The music is equally technical and intricate, and subtle and melodic. It deserves to be featured on the end of year lists of many, but I fear it is probably known by too few. Do yourself a favour, and make yourself one of those few.

 Grandeur by WHITE WALLS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.53 | 6 ratings

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Grandeur
White Walls Progressive Metal

Review by ssmarcus

3 stars Imagine the harsh vocals and rhythmic riffing of The Ocean coupled with the ambience of Tesseract and the smooth clean vocals of 311 (yes, the dude singing "Amber is the color of your energy") and you have a pretty good idea of what Grandeur sounds like. The album is engaging and fun through the majority of its runtime. Although, given how indebted the sound here is to the band's influences, the record isn't a wholly original sounding affair. Still, this shouldn't detract from the overall good experience the average fan of modern progressive metal can expect to have while listening to this record.
 Mad Man Circus by WHITE WALLS album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.05 | 10 ratings

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Mad Man Circus
White Walls Progressive Metal

Review by Time Signature

4 stars This release is actually quite good, I must say, but also a challenging listen if you are not used to progressive and avant-garde metal, and if you have a problem with genre transgression, then stay away. However, if you, like me, love challenging music that breaks down the genre boundaries within and outside metal, then "Mad Man Circus" by Romanian metal act White Walls should be just up your strasse.

Jest, the fist track "Friends for a While" takes us through several subgenres within metal, such as metalcore, thrash metal, deathmetal, grindcore, progressive metal, alternative metal and, to spice it up even more, the song has been generously drizzled with jazz chords and odd time signatures... and this is still just the first track. But "Friends for a While" is pretty much symptomatic of the rest of the album which is highly ecclectic and progressive without ever being overly technical. Still, this is a band who are not afraid of using dissonant jazz chords, odd time signatures and unconventional song structures, and lengthy samples of the sound of small waves in a lake touching to bottom of a wooden boat. This really is good stuff; hard-hitting metal which also has a lot of artistic appeal to it. White Walls certainly fit the label of "the thinking person's metal" which has been applied to the likes of Queensrÿche and Watchtower (I know, it's "the thinkng man's metal", but, hey, let's try not to be sexist).

I do have two issues with this release, though. Firstly, I think that guitar solos are sorely lacking from this album. There are none actually. There are some guitar lead melodies, and they work fine, but there are so many parts of the songs on this album that lend themselves perfectly to some guitar solos - and the solos could also have been used in the name of the obvious artistic mission of the band to create even more variation (they could have used jazz solos, shreddy solos, bluesey solos, neoclassical solos etc. for even more variation). So I think it's a shame that guitar solos are absent.

The other thing is the singer. Actually, Eugen Brudaru is a brilliant singer with a very unique and expressive voice. The problem is that he also uses a lot of metalcore screaming and yelling. Now, these harsher vocals admittedly fit the hard-hitting parts, but it's just that his clean voice is so unique and so hauntingly captivating (while the metalcore screams and yells, just sound like metalcore screams and yells) that it's a shame he doesn't use it all the way through the album. I mean, it's versatile enough, and it in those place where he does use his clean voice over heavy metallic music, it works better than fine. I hope that Eugen Brudaru will use, and experiment with, his magnificen clean vocals more on future releases.

But as I said, "Mad Man Circus" is over all a very interesting and captivating heavy metal release with music that is challenging and complex enough for the listener to lose oneself in. At times, the music reminds me of the great jazz-death metal acts Pestilence and Cynic, while at other times it's trashy or Gothenburg-like, while other parts again remind me of mid 90s Fates Warning etc. - but the songs on "Mad Man Circus" never lose their originality.

It's really great stuff! Metal for the thinking person!

I recommend this to fans of progressive metal, but I think that more adventurous metalcore and thrash metal fans might enjoy it, too. I certainly enjoy listening to "Mad Man Circus".

(review originally posted at metalmusicarchives.com)

Thanks to harmonium.ro for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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