What's He Building In There?
What's He Building In There?

Thanks to the US postal service, it took numerous attempts an several months for me to get my copy of this for review from the label and after the wait, though I’m not completely sold, this is if anything, a very, very challenging and ambitious work.

If you think the likes of Between the Buried and Me, The Number 12 Looks Like You Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Protest the Hero are a bit scattershot, and unfocused, then strap on to your seat, as Canada’s WHBIT? (named after a Tom Wait’s song) are completely off the hook and all over the musical charts, with an injection of Mr. Bungle, Faith No More and any number of quirky elements like programming, a brass section, rap and death metal vocals and such mixed in with their spazzy techy form of metal.

Describing WHBIT? is virtually impossible, but it’s basically Chris Schroeder’s Mike Patton meets Lajon Withersppon (Sevendust) croons along with his (I assume) deeps bellows and screams layering over techy, angular noodling and progressive moments of completely of the wall experimentation and even free form funk/jazz . It’s at times comes across like deathcore meets HORSE The Band, Estradasphere and the Teletubbies in its wacked out, and trippy, ‘need to be high to appreciate it’, style of chaos. It’s just that odd.

And thusly, not an immediate or easy listen full of hooks and catchy songs, but an album full of just off the wall, unpredictable spurts of amazing creativity, and to be honest, at time, stupidity. And I don’t mean that to be negative or mean, I mean at times the level of sheer audacious ambition that the band tries to meld with techy metal is just at times too much to bear and often overwhelming to the point where is sounds just ridiculous.

The talent in the band is as undeniable as their ambitiousness, but for every lucid moment of tangible structure and riffage (i.e. “Armageddon”), or supine BTBAM styled solo (I, Xulotl”) there’s 5 moments of just inexplicable spontaneity and un-followable “WTF?” moments (“Black Sythe Affair”, “(Holy Shit) The Droid is Missing”) that leaving you scratching your head, but also acknowledging and respecting the band’s complete disregard for anything remotely traditional or predictable.

If WHBIT? would take it down just a notch, I think they could be into something really special, as I really enjoyed a sparse few moments such as the brass injection of “Citizen of the City”, the synths and tribal beats of “Monkey Knife Fight” or brief but brilliant melody lines and keys of dizzying closer “Avian Taxi”, but it simply doesn’t last long enough.

A definite try before you buy listen, but I only recommend this to open minded metal heads whose Synapses fire as randomly and spasmodically as this album.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 4th, 2008

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