Sound — 7
Ok, guys, all good normal names for the bands are already taken, now it's time to borrow something from the song names. A metal band from Waterloo, Ontario are one of the pioneers here. The guys thought that Tom Wait's composition What's He Building In There? would suit their metal sound perfectly. The band formed just in 2006 and managed to sign to Canadian Year of the Sun Records in 2007, releasing a self-titled debut not so long after. The music is very spontaneous and at times it all sounds like a never-ending improvisation. There are plenty of moments on the CD where it seems the musicians are playing whatever they want, not even paying attention to each other -- like in the end of A Walk On The Beach. Other tracks are more two in one -- they sound like there are two different songs played at the same time -- Armadillo could be a good example. The band had quiet a lot of time to record the album and they didn't waste it, re-working the songs and making the sound tighter every time they came back to it. The tracks are also diversified by some electronic effects, which only add to the music complex sound. While I used to be joking, calling fast guitar solos by other bands guitar exercises, here it gets a literal sense. A part of (Holy Shit) The Droid Is Missing quite easy could be something stolen from a musical schoolbook. They call themselves semi-psychotic metaphysical geniuses, thus no wonder the CD is pretty messy. Suddenly in the middle of the album there is a piece of reggae in Windmills surrounded by metal hardcore.
Lyrics — 7
It might seem that the vocalists are just screaming a bunch of scary sounds, but if you listen close (or read the booklet, which is recommended for a better understanding), you'll be surprised how deep the song meanings are. While other metal bands release epic albums about ancient heroes and gods, What Is He Building In There? are writing their own story and it turns to be as fascinating as a computer game. It is a tale about a person, who is saving a doomed universe, with different characters involved. Pretty weird, but at least imaginative and up-to-date. The vocals are anything but typical or boring. They are as different as falsetto, clean singing, growling and of course screamo. There are two vocalists in the band -- Hal Jaques and Chris Schroeder. One of them is in charge of brutal screamo and another is trying to present us everything they can do with his vocals.
Overall Impression — 7
Without being afraid to sound modest, What Is He Building In There? call their album an outstanding musical achievement. You'd understand what they mean if you're a metal fan. The album is very carefully played from the technical side and the musicians are surely professional, but it's a bit too extreme for an average listener. The music sounds a bit too over produced and maybe that's because the band has spent too much time re-working it. It's not a secret anymore that metal bands are looking for additional inspiration away from metal to vary the music and restructure the idea of a metal band. These guys found it in humor. As the band mascot Dr. Bronson explains, "they gave each song character by not ripping off their own riffs. Anyone caught writing a clone riff was subject to childish name calling." So maybe we shouldn't take everything all that serious?