East of the Wall - Ressentiment
Translation Loss Records
Post-Metallic Hardcore
13 songs (62:32)
Release year: 2010
Translation Loss Records
Reviewed by Steve

What East of the Wall have recorded here is basically a less angry, less heavy, less structured, and much less excellent version of Coalesce’s 2009 LP, OX. I have a little trouble sometimes with post-this and core-that, but I believe if you’ve produced something truly brilliant it will resonate with metal fans across the spectrum. OX was a record I connected with immediately and that surprised me. But, hey, you know, it’s a burly slab of “pissed off” and I’m always up for that. This is why I’m highly suspect of Converge. I tried and tried to get into Axe to Fall and some of their back catalog and I simply don’t get it yet. That’s a story that’s ultimately played out in a fulfilling love for a given band in the past, though, so I’ll keep trying. I still listen to OX, in fact, and that’s why I so quickly drew the comparison with Ressentiment. Excusing the unoriginality of what they’ve done, it’s not altogether an unfavorable comparison. Plenty of Ressentiment is good stuff, but it has a big, tender Achilles heel - the clean vocals.

Now, see, OX has clean vocals too, but they don't make me want to supplicate myself to the gods of pity as do those on Ressentiment. The employment of these clean vocals is especially unsatisfying when they occur immediately adjacent to the harsh vocals, as on Fleshmaker. The harsh vocals are done quite nicely, but they do not play well with their clean companion on this record. Typically, this style is referred to as “emo,” but I believe this is often a euphemism for “feminine.” And if I want feminine, I’ll put an Indigo Girls record on. I don’t want whininess anywhere near anything that even purports to be metal or heavy. It’s a real shame too, because if Ressentiment had only one big problem, it could probably sail on through the gates of mediocrity.

As it is, however, it sinks to the bottom of failure bay, because, in addition to those horrible clean vocals, this thing has about as much direction as a bipolar seventeen year old from a broken home. Yes, the playing is good. Above average, probably. But, unless you’re aching to hear Phish play post-metal, you will find the songwriting on Ressentiment far from adequate. The whole thing just kind of wanders around. For sixty two minutes, no less!

There’s a brief moment on A Long Defeat where I started to get into the song, but then those damn clean vocals come back. In contrast, album closer Beasteater is what East of the Wall sound like when they get it right. The clean vocals, for the most part, are less whiny and work O.K. The rest of the song is really good, too, so I was able to get into it.

Ressentiment isn’t horrible, but it’s also not terribly original or technically flawless or moving in many spots. East of the Wall are obviously talented musicians, but they need to give their playing a destination and some sense of occasional arrival at that point. Others will no doubt be less offended by the vocal technique I’ve decried at length and they may thus find this a good, if imperfect record. For me, though, it only scratches at the celophane of quality. You had better “try before you buy.”

Killing Songs :
Steve quoted 69 / 100
Other albums by East of the Wall that we have reviewed:
East of the Wall - The Apologist reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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