Album Review: White Walls – Grandeur

White Walls - Grandeur

Romania’s White Walls exploded onto the scene in 2010 with the full-length Mad Man Circus,  which was followed by 2013’s Escape Artist. The latter stunned as much for its members’ talents as for its incredibly infectious melodies. Taking cues from the obvious juggernauts of the genre, the group crafted an album that displayed the purity of form and exquisite melodies. New effort Grandeur—band’s third album—is not simply mimic of its predecessor. Instead, it is a far broader, relatively more challenging listen that retains the band’s knack for penning catchy melodies, yet requires a tad more time for absorption. The end result is largely the same though, that of a wholly satisfying progressive metal monolith.

White Walls has crafted a concept album of sorts, perhaps explaining the album’s colder, brooding feel in parts. So as not to mislead, it is important to point out that Grandeur is a logical progression from Escape Artist in that the group has spread its wings a bit, but continues to ground its impressive playing firmly in the art of song craft. After a short intro in the way of “False Beliefs,” “Eye for an I” is a hard charging number that emphasizes the riff and stimulates the senses with a strong melody of its own. Vocalist Virgil Eugen Brudaru is the guy that pushes these melodies into the stratosphere, his silky pipes pitch perfect and are addictive on several levels.

“Velvet” does so much for the record weaving through a progressive maze of intricacy, led by wondrous vocal performance by Brudaru and nothing less enchanting execution by guitarist Alexandru Eduard Dascălu. “Month’s End” works a little more subtly with lush instrumentation and obsidian hues, managing to hold one’s attention for the entire journey. Earlier on the album, “Home is on the Other Side” and “Speaking in Tongues” come along with powerful riffwork and convincing rhythm section comprised of Serban-Ionut Georgescu on bass and Theodor-Ștefan Scrioșteanu.

Grandeur is a highly decent, adventurous album in all areas a fair amount of the time, making for a release that doesn’t shy away fro experimentation but it also remains coherent. It is also a colorful sounding record, with a well balanced mix and no notable production flaws to distract from the listening experience. This is important, as what White Walls has achieved is the kind of engaging encounter that implores deep listening. In a year crammed with great examples of extreme progressive metal, White Walls stands near the top of the stack, channeling metal aggression into a blazing ardour for the human race’s place in the all existence.

Grandeur is out today, October 23rd. Get it from Bandcamp here. Follow White Walls on Facebook and Instagram. Read an interview with White Walls here.

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