WAIT - We Are In Transit - (7.5/10)
Published on July 12, 2019
WAIT is a new appearance on The Artisan Era featuring Max Phelps (guitar) and Alex Weber (bass) from Exist and Defeated Sanity and Anup Sastry (former member of Intervals, Monuments, and Skyharbor) on drums. That certainly sounds like an interesting bundle and their debut three track EP, “We Are In Transit” offers a brief but convincing dose of experimental progressive death metal weirdness. If complexity is your thing then by all means dig in. This is a frenzy of odd times, messed up grooves and dissonance on multiple levels with strongly impressive technicality. The bass and guitar riffs sound more like jazz turned to overdrive effect than actual death metal and the guitar leads are very fusionesque. Sometimes it gets a bit groovy but most of the times it sounds quite odd and a bit disturbing I’d say. What I liked though is that despite the weird songwriting approach and mid-tempo pace to the songs, Anup still found a way to completely mince that drum kit and show off his ability to play fast and crazy on several occasions.
I guess the main issue with this EP is that it isn’t exactly something you like, nor does it even seem intended that way. It takes a lot of participation from the listener but it feels like it was made more for the sake of experimentation that actual enjoyability. There is some sort of intellectual brainiac satisfaction you get when trying to observe everything that’s going on. Their ability to keep it flowing without falling apart despite the complexity is quite impressive. But I think that’s a bit besides the point if you don’t actually like what you hear. The screams are also not my cup of tea as they’re very harsh but not exactly powerful or expressive. In fact, the whole instrumentation seems to have that issue as well. It’s undoubtedly very heavy but the jazzy compositional approach results in a lack of energy or momentum.
I’d say the biggest positive aspects in their sound are the clean vocals, which carry out some melody and the atmospheric clean guitar parts where it gets all eerie and a bit menacing. I also admire the originality. It’s certainly a unique sound that I wouldn’t normally expect to find in a progressive death metal band. The production is also really high quality, sounding crisp and allowing you to easily hear all the details. But it’s still a challenging listen, certainly not for the faint-hearted. I don’t want to be the guy who criticizes a progressive band for being progressive but I do feel that intricacy and complex composition should have something more appealing as a counterbalance in order to keep the listener interested. And another thing I found frustrating is that it seems to lack direction. It starts out of nowhere and ends nowhere and you’re left wondering what on Earth was the purpose of everything in between.
If being weird and jazzy was these guys’ priority then it’s certainly job done and I’m fairly convinced that they’re great musicians who really know their shit, but from a listener’s perspective, I find it difficult to recommend this. I certainly don’t dislike it but I have trouble finding much to enjoy as well. Throw some extra points for impressive creativity and skill and that’s pretty much the end of it for me.