The Great Wall - The Iron Triangle: Congress

The Great Wall – The Iron Triangle: Congress

Can metal be both progressive and accessible at the same time? It seems like, in general, whenever a once-revered progressive metal band moves towards accessibility—take Mastodon, for example, though Opeth and Cynic would probably also work—it seems like people can’t wait to turn on them, wishing they would go back to writing more challenging material. And it’s not like Once More ‘Round the Sun (or Heritage, or Kindly Bent to Free Us) doesn’t still have it’s proggy moments, because it does; it’s more that the progginess is toned down in favor of more focused, concise songwriting.

None of which is to say that The Great Wall’s new EP (and first part of an apparent trilogy) The Iron Triangle: Congress sounds anything like Mastodon (or Opeth, or Cynic), because it doesn’t. The Great Wall’s sound is more like Intronaut-meets-mathcore with a few electronic elements thrown in for good measure, but with vocals that are almost crooned. The end result is a heavily textured take on alt-metal that’s both proggy and accessible. On paper it might seem a bit incongruous, but in practice it’s pretty damn wonderful. It’s also not really like anything I’ve ever heard before, which is saying something.

Ordinarily I would highlight a standout track or two at the point in a review, but the truth is the five songs that make up the EP are all pretty stellar. From a riff standpoint, “Author, Author” may be the strongest track. “Soothsayer” is probably the proggiest track, as well as being the most striking lyrically. Synth-driven album closer “illliteyorpankakezonfyre” will please those who like their prog with an ‘80s tinge.

The Iron Triangle: Congress is available as a ‘name your price’ download from The Great Wall’s Bandcamp page. Give it a listen below and I have a feeling that you’ll be as anxiously awaiting the rest of the trilogy as I am.