Enlarge Photo: Anne-Marie Caruso, used with permission

Premiere: East of the Wall Expand Their Progressive Horizons on A Neutral Second


New Jersey’s East of the Wall have always been known for their progressive leanings, releasing their first EP way back in 2006. In that time, they’ve covered a pretty significant amount of ground and played around with what “progressive” means to them. On new album A Neutral Second, it means more room for the songs to breathe and more organic compositions, which you can hear via a MetalSucks-exclusive full stream right now.

Recorded as the album was written in their home base rehearsal/recording studio, A Neutral Second dips its toes into the world of post-rock and post-metal a bit further, aiming for natural crescendos and songs that have more spontaneity and diversity than otherwise expected.

Says guitarist/vocalist Matt Lupo:

“Our approach to writing music definitely evolved over the several years that it took to write and record ‘A Neutral Second.‘ At its core, it’s still an East of the Wall album, full of twists and turns and some intricate instrumentation. But we also let the music breathe in a lot of places and develop slowly, almost organically. “Detonator Gauntlet,” “Autosomal Recessive” and “Hegemony’s Dilemma” all have a bit of that gradual evolution to a mood. Of course there’s still bangers like “Momentum Mori” and “Unfamiliar Glass Ceiling,” but even those are a bit less straightforward than the full on assaults we’ve mounted in the past. And I gotta say, “Reclamation Rites,” which is something Greg initialized, is maybe the closest thing to a ballad you’ll ever find with this band.  Once it was done, I said “this needs to be the first single…it’s so catchy and really has emotion to it!” Cooler heads prevailed and we debuted with “Detonator Gauntlet,” which is a more representative sample of all the types of things this band does. It was the first song we wrote for this record and I think a bit of a hazing for Matt Keys. He brought in the starter riff, and it gradually grew in directions that he probably never imagined.”

Bassist/vocalist Chris Alfano corroborates his bandmate’s statement and adds that:

“The reduced barrier from composition to completion was great – not having to go into the studio to track: just tuning up the drum heads and recording two or three songs at a time as they were done. It allowed us to be more spontaneous in the studio since not all of the guitars and vocals were completed when Seth recorded the drum parts – the basics were there, but there were plenty of harmonies, overdubs, leads, and other extras that happened on the spot. With a band like ours, when the songs are this intricate, anything we can do to cut down on the time from our brains to the listener ears is fantastic. Our last record took six years (admittedly in part due to some lineup changes and other life stuff), and this album is close to the same length but with half that amount of time spent putting it together. And reflecting back on the last two releases, I’m happier with these tunes. Getting ideas out quickly lets us not second guess ourselves; so the weird parts are weirder, the mean parts are meaner, and the mellow parts are…. well you get the idea.”

Listen to A Neutral Second below. If you like what you hear, it’s available for pre-order via Translation Loss.

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