Thursday, March 1, 2018
The Watchers – Black Abyss
From the first notes of album opener and title track “Black Abyss”, The Watchers make it crystal clear that there will be no sophomore slump where this band is concerned. You can call this music a lot of things but it is pure, concentrated rock and roll. This is a band that is not pulling any punches and delivers every note of every song as though the salvation of the world depends upon it.
There is so much good stuff going on with this record that I asked myself where to start. The songwriting is fantastic. All of these tracks just flow so well and work as a whole to create an album that lends itself to being played over and over again. A track like “Starfire” deserves to be cranked in every car stereo this summer. It sounds like driving around with the windows down and no particular place to go. All of these songs are heavy and yet very melodic. There is some very catchy writing captured on this release, and many of these songs will get that earworm thing going, when you find them stuck in your head.
The playing and musicianship is really flawless. The rhythm section locks in so well on every one of these songs, and really gives a groove to each one that is sorely missing in a lot of rock music these days. This is definitely throwback stuff to the rock that I grew up with in the 70's and 80's, yet it has a nice modern sheen that keeps it from being just a duplication of what came before. This seems to be a band that knows their influences and incorporates them into what they do without it being simple idol worship or highly derivative tunes that you've heard a thousand times before.
I have to mention the guitar work, because the tones and styles used are so good and classic and timeless, yet as I noted above, they manage to sound thoroughly modern at the same time. I could listen to these solos over and over again, and they stick in your head. You can almost hum them outside of the song, and that for me is the mark of a guitar player who knows what the hell he is doing.
As far as what they sound like, I think I mentioned that these guys are a rock band. They are heavy, but this isn't doom or stoner or psychedelic or any of that. If you love Van Halen, Judas Priest, or Blue Oyster Cult when any of those bands were in their heyday, if you are a fan of great songs played by a great band, if you dig that thrill you get when you hear a band that is just locked in and letting it rip, then this is what you need right here. There is not one note on this album that disappoints and it'll get you banging your head from start to finish.