Liar in Wait’s members move past metal boundaries on shadowy, depressing EP

liar in wait cover
A bunch of us (if three can be considered a bunch) made the pilgrimage to Maryland Deathfest this past weekend which, and as you might imagine, it’s a collection of every type of heavy metal accessory known to humankind, worn by people proud to show off their metallic heritage. A friend of mine, whose metal shirt collection frighteningly dwarfs mine, had different ideas though, as he chose instead to wear Depeche Mode and Portishead shirts to the fest to throw off the scent.

I’m sure he got some weird looks, but his tactic actually made a lot of metal sense to me. Much of the music we listen to is dark, dreary, and depressing. There is more room for brooding and personal anguish than we sometimes care to admit, and that line to bands like Depeche Mode, Sisters of Mercy, and the Cure is there for the grabbing if we care to examine that side of ourselves. Clearly those are the influences important to new dark, gothic rock outfit Liar in Wait, as their debut self-titled EP shows.

Made up of four tracks—three originals, one a stunning Fields of Nephilim cover—this excursion put together by members and ex-members of decidedly metallic groups such as Chrome Waves, Nachtmystium, Mourner, and Iron Thrones is a perfect companion on a drab, rainy night, when all you have to keep you company is a bottle of spirits and your loneliness brought on by your suspect decision making. Nothing here is designed to lift your spirits or help you see the bright side. Instead, you’re more than likely expected to get down in the gutter and wallow with these guys, as they examine and drain every drip of pain and sorrow from their bodies in ways they don’t quite get to do with their other bands. It may take a few listens for this to settle in, but once it does, it’s impossible to shake.

The band is made up of dudes you know if you’re underground extreme metal circles—and you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t—with vocalist Adam Clemans (Wolvhammer), guitarist Jeff Wilson (Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium), bassist/synth player Jim Adolphson (Shaidar Logoth), and drummer/synth player/guitarist Peter Clarke (ex-Iron Thrones) rounding out this dark lineup. They certainly show some interesting, drab corners on this EP, and there’s enough good stuff here that intrigue for a full-length should be forthcoming.

The EP kicks off with “Faithless,” a song driven by a cold bassline, shimmering synth, and Clemans’ trademark deep, droning vocals, as he notes, “I watch the vultures pick my bones.” There’s both a depressive state and emotional disconnect to the song to make you worried about the artist’ well-being. “Conversations in Violet” picks up the tempo a little more, with Adolphson’s bass again a major factor in the composition, and the wrist-slashing sentiment coming home full force with, “We don’t care who we hurt tonight.” This song didn’t really grip me the first few times around, but the more time I spend with it, the more I think it might be my favorite cut here. Eerie “Fall With Me” is awash in damnation and bad intentions, with the watery murk trickling along its path and down the drains beneath the earth. There is even more vocal variety from Clemans, as he imagines being “in a world of eternal flames,” and his voices quivers up and down, reaching tumultuous highs and lows. Capping off the record is the aforementioned cover of “And There Your Heart Will Be Also,” a pretty chilling, yet faithful, reading of the Fields of Nephilim cut that these guys do a nice job with. The thick synth helps the song reach its hopeless climax, and the song drizzles slowly over your own heartache and despair. Great version.

This is a project perhaps most people wouldn’t expect from these guys at least on the surface, but their other bands certainly show enough shades of this style of darkness that this can’t come as a shock. Having Profound Lore behind the album makes total sense, as they’re more than willing to stretch their boundaries beyond metal, and this band hopefully will continue even further into the future to produce a full-length that’ll depress the fuck out of us.

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