Photo: Scott Kinkade

Progressive Metal Unit East of the Wall Returns With “Somn 6” (premiere)

East of the Wall's new album arrives 29 March via Translation Loss, and bassist/vocalist Chris Alfano discusses their new song, "Somn 6".

New Jersey progressive metal unit East of the Wall returns after six years with a new LP, NP-Complete, March 29 via Translation Loss. In preparation, the band has issued a new video for the trackSomn 6″. With vocals that traverse between angelic and clean to demonic and growling, it’s an excellent exploration of the light/dark axis with plenty of progressive twists and turns that will bring even the most hard-hearted metalhead to raise their fists in solidarity.

Bassist/vocalist Chris Alfano says, “the title ‘Somn 6’ is a mashup of Psalm 6 and somnambulism. Lyrically, it touches on feelings of regret, or at least self-questioning, that tend to bubble up the day after I’ve had to interact in some kind of social setting. There’s always that unease around whether, in retrospect, everything I said or did was the worst possible choice at each moment. The narrative centers on a character’s late-night bender. But really, it’s less about intoxication than about a judgement, even shame, that I tend to feel in the aftermath of large-scale societal mingling. That’s where the psalm comes in: it’s a lament for suffering and distress, which applies here to our protagonist’s mental state in the emotional nadir. And the sleep-waking part of the metaphor is just referencing the character’s inebriation and disconnect. So basically, this is our feel-bad pop hit of the winter.”

He adds, “but it’s not all frowns and flagellation. It’s one of our most focused songs on NP-Complete, exploring some specific themes – and I don’t mean that just lyrically. The foundation of the tune is based on a 13/4 bass groove that I brought in (well, the original riff, anyway, which kicks off in measures of 7, 6, 7, 8, before settling into the alternating 7 and 6 that makes the up the plurality of the track). Then, as usual, we all iterated on the themes in the room until a song made manifest. But unlike our usual compositional excursions, we didn’t take quite as many detours. ‘Somn 6’ will still surprise you, but every section connects directly back to that first theme without the need for a transitional movement to bridge the gap.”

As for the clip itself, he notes, “the video was mostly filmed at Portrait Recording Studios as we were tracking the drum takes, back in May 2017. You can also see some footage from my home studio, Volume Fact, where we did the vocals and guitar overdubs. Fun fact: the protracted recording schedule means that the overdubs were filmed more than a year after the drum shots.”