Sunday, 16 December 2012

White Walls - Mad Man Circus


Tracklisting-
1. Friends for a While
2. The One Who Walks...
3. ...Into the Water
4. The Lost Art of Chapeaugraphy pt.1
5. The Lost Art of Chapeaugraphy pt.2
 6. The Lost Art of Chapeaugraphy pt.3
7. Sinner
8. Curtains

I'm beginning to work through some of the earlier submission I received this year, due to the fact that my backlog is a substantial size now. Romanian band White Walls got in touch with me a while back about reviewing their album Mad Man Circus. White Walls are a four-piece progressive metal band from Constanta, Romania. They've been together since April 2009 and this is their debut album. It was released back in 2010 by net-label Asiluum.com.


White Walls initially hit you with Friends for a While, which features a semi-sludgy sound, before lurching into an off-kilter, grooving attack. The drums and guitars sound pretty loud on the recording and they include various different influences, including math-core, straightforward heavy metal and clean singing. When those clean vocals kick in, the first band that comes to mind is System of a Down! There's certainly plenty going on and for a debut album, White Walls sound very focused and assured.

Second track The One Who Walks... starts with a grind inspired intro, featuring some crazed drumming. It settles down though into a more mid-paced song with really cool guitar and vocal melodies. This song has a slight rock-opera feel to it, but then that shouldn't surprise you when White Walls badge themselves as a progressive metal band. They even include brief piano flourishes! They dive into some kind of free-form jazz at the start of ...Into The Water, which sounds really awesome. Their sound at times also matches that of Dream Theater, which I know is a big statement to make, but one that I stand by. There are still moments of out and out brutality though, especially within the crunching mid passages that features some great guitar work and deathly vocal screams.

White Walls even throw in a 3-parter to Mad Man Circus. It's the song entitled The Lost Art of Chapeaugraphy and it's split into parts 1,2 and 3. A pretty bold move but one that White Walls carries off very well. There are moments of pure off-kilter, noise beauty interjected by calm, quiet interludes that split the parts out. These parts help to keep the momentum going for White Walls and make Mad Man Circus an exciting listen. At this point to, I think it's a good place to talk about the musicianship and the production on the record. The musicianship is real quality. White Walls obviously features musicians who can play and play more than just metal at that!
The production of the album brings out that impression, with an incredibly clear sound but one that isn't over pronounced. I mean, just listen to the grooving southern rock inspired riffs toward the end of pt.2, which encompasses some heady time signatures. This is another fine reason for you to discover this band!

The songs on Mad Man Circus vary in length, from more traditional short songs of three-five minutes long to longer songs, like The Lost Art of Chapeaugraphy: pt.3, which is over eight minutes in length. Album closer Curtains, is the longest song and over thirteen minutes. This kind of variation in length and artistry make for an interesting record. Short songs make up the majority of the record, but also stand as a tool for keeping things focused amongst the longer songs, which in turn keep you hooked as a listener. A fine example of this exact point is the penultimate song Sinners. It's sandwiched between the two longest songs on Mad Man Circus and while still being a progressive song, it showcases the ability White Walls have to write more in your face, immediate numbers.

It's left to the leviathan that is Curtains too close the album. It's thirteen minutes that encapsulates pretty much the whole of Mad Man Circus and squashes into one song. After all, it is White Walls last chance to highlight their song-writing and playing prowess. They of course, do it with abundance. Overall, this entire record left my jaw agape. I wasn't expecting what I heard at all and was left in no doubt that with more attention from the wider metal world; White Walls will grow into a huge band.

Man Man Circus can be streamed below via the bands own Soundcloud page - 

 
White Walls were also featured as the first part of a series called Asiluum Case Studies, which is posted on Youtube. Check it out below:-


White Walls can be found on their website at http://whitewalls.ro and on Facebook too at http://www.facebook.com/whitewallsofficial?ref=ts&fref=ts.

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