|Title: Watch Them Die
Artist: Watch Them Die
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 10/7/03
|Judgment Committee Reviews||Rating|
||Go to Reader Reviews|
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They should have called the band ‘Watch Them Die Of A Massive Brain Hemorrhage After Listening To This Album’. Actually, no, I take that back - their name was better, but mine’s more descriptive. This mixture of thrash and metalcore is quickly tattooing itself on my brain and cementing itself amongst my favorite albums of the year. Can this be the beginning of another Bay Area scene?
"The most impressive debut of the year, and an album that everyone should run out and buy. If your neighbor is in the way, run them over and Watch Them Die."
This band combines a blistering guitar attack with evil, hate-filled vocals that make you want to be extra careful not to get on these guys’ bad side. The album is all over the place with its pummeling beats, whiplash-inducing breakdowns and razorblade screams, but at the same time it is extremely focused and immaculately written. It is urban in feel, but organic in execution, riding a perfect line between grit and bombast. There is as much Deceased in this record as there is Lamb of God, and that comparison doesn’t even take into account the horror movie samples.
The guitar sound is piercing, maintaining a thickness that seems impossible to bear, but in a delicious and addictive way. The album does incorporate some hardcore sensibilities, much in the way that 80’s thrash did, but even those more averse to the metalcore explosion will find themselves wanting to throw things around once this album kicks in.
The album is a consistent as it can be, but at the same time remains a diverse meld of styles with songs that are instantly recognizable and stand up to listen upon listen without ceding any of their initial power. “Torn Pages” and “To See You Bleed” are my early favorites, but there isn’t a mediocre track on the disc. The songs are generally long (while the album is only seven tracks, all but two are over five minutes in length, giving a running time of a little over 40 minutes), giving each a chance to impress you in different ways.
"This mixture of thrash and metalcore is quickly tattooing itself on my brain and cementing itself amongst my favorite albums of the year."
The most impressive debut of the year, and an album that everyone should run out and buy. If your neighbor is in the way, run them over and Watch Them Die. One word review: Punishing.
Up from the Bay Area underground comes Watch Them Die, a brutal and pummeling outfit that seems destined for metallic greatness. With members hailing from more hardcore and punk backgrounds (Grimple, Schlong, ELDOPA [aka: 1332], Word Salad, Buzzov-en and OjoRojo), Watch Them Die is a full-on metal assault that brings modern technical death metal, grind and hardcore/metalcore sensibilities to bear upon a decidedly old school thrash construct. At times, Watch Them Die conjures up memories of veteran thrash constructs such as those of greats such as Venom, Celtic Frost, Deceased or early Slayer. With visual elements to boot, thanks to a singer who – live – is prone to bashing himself in the head repeatedly until the blood streams down his face (at least that’s what happened at a recent L.A. gig at the Whiskey), this band has everything in place to do its geographic roots proud and champion a new, third generation of Bay Area thrash metal (I think of Machine Head/Skinlab, etc., as the second generation of Bay Area thrash – maybe you could further break it down and call Exodus and Metallica generation one, and then Forbidden and Vio-lence generation two, making Machine Head the third generation and – aw, who cares, right?). Such is a heavy burden no doubt, but Watch Them Die have the sound, the look, the attitude and the style to pull it off. I would not be at all surprised to see them at the forefront of the underground metal scene in two years time.
"Up from the Bay Area underground comes Watch Them Die, a brutal and pummeling outfit that seems destined for metallic greatness."
Now that said, whatever they might be in two years time, I’m given the task of evaluating what they are now. And let me further define the scope of this review by telling you that I am reviewing this release and not the band’s current live show which is definitely five skull material, hands down. What Watch Them Die are right here, right now with this release are a killer new band with cool songs and a great sonic concept – modern hardcore combined with the raw, underground classic thrash sound of yore. My favorite track is number 7, “Resurrection,” which builds with clean guitar dynamics and subtle, underlying female backing vocals. I dare you to try not to bang your head when it comes in heavy. But all in all, I think this is more a precursor to greatness than it is the total endgame. 5 skull potential, but for now, only a four skull effort.
"I dare you to try not to bang your head when it comes in heavy."
Bay Area thrash lives on in Century Media newcomers Watch Them Die. As I’ve recently written, their live show is devastating, and I recognized several of the songs once I sat down to listen to this. Which certainly goes to show that they are able to write recognizable, memorable songs. While the production on the record is clear, I am dissatisfied with the balance – to me it sounds like too much high end and the guitars are too far out front. But then, I’m picky like that.
"Watch Them Die is a great band and their self-titled release is one for them to be proud of."
The musicianship is, as it should be, the true selling point. The individual parts are all fairly complicated, yet the timing is perfect and all the changes are exact. Here is the main thread that runs through all of Bay Area thrash – that combination of speed, heaviness, and technicality that beckoned so many of us to discipleship. Their live show taught me that all four of the guys out in front contribute to the vocals, which accounts for the variety heard on the record. The contrast helps keep things interesting and harmonizing screams are always welcome.
As impressive as their live show is, I had expected to be bowled over by this album. For some reason I am not, and I’m blaming the production – where the hell is the bass line? Nonetheless, there is plenty of riff-filled entertainment to be found on this disc. Watch Them Die is a great band and their self-titled release is one for them to be proud of. Pick this one up and keep an eye out - Watch Them Die live should not be missed.
"The musicianship is, as it should be, the true selling point."
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