Black Abyss by The WatchersRelease date: March 9, 2018
Label: Ripple Music
Gathering together musicians from bands such as Orchid, SpiralArms and Black Gates, San Francisco band The Watchers are a gathering of like-minded people beholden to heavy rock as it used to be. Crunchy riffs, melodic vocals, and a stoner attitude, they come at you like a full on Harley Davidson storming down the highway. Beer, sweat, weed and rock n’ roll all in equal measures.
As corny as that may sound, The Watchers are far from being “yet another stoner band”. This debut release, Black Abyss, shines with some of the most hyper-kinetic rock you have heard in a while. Like that time you first heard Appetite For Destruction, and that guitar rang out at the start, The Watchers have a keen sense of playing it live, loud and hard. Granted they are not quite in the same league as the aforementioned album, but they do make an almighty fine racket.
Highlights are plenty on an album which simply blows away any cobwebs including ‘Oklahoma Black Magic’, which impresses after a rather stodgy start. The Watchers take a couple of songs to warm up, and if there is to be any criticism aimed at them it is that whilst their songs do go to different places, they tend to get lost in all the rock n’ roll bluster. That said, when they find space to let the music out, and the melodies come in, they are a complete thrill. Take the guitar solo on ‘Starfire’, which literally explodes out of the dense noise of pummelling riffs. This is matched by the excellent vocals of Tim Narducci who, whilst not leaving the safe space of High On Fire or Monster Magnet, does carry a powerful punch.
‘Suffer Fool’ is one of those songs where the band calm down slightly to show what they are made up. It’s a mid range rocker with some unusual melodic interludes which make for an interesting diversion from the rest of the album. It’s a welcome breather from the non-stop riffs and also teases for an interesting future. It’s the cream on top of an album that impresses all the way through. In another time The Watchers could have been sharing stages with the legends, now they will settle for club gigs and festival slots. Whilst they are not the most original of bands, their music really does deserve to have a wider audience.
If your idea of manna is a band who incorporate the best bits of High On Fire and Rainbow then The Watchers are the ones for you. Whilst Black Abyss may only be their debut album, they are seasoned enough to make it count and any self respecting rock or stoner fan will find lots to enjoy about this release. There’s enough here to get us excited about the future too, and lets hope that a wider audience finds them and they get the credit they deserve.