Often times you'll hear people praise a metal album for being "punishing," because the said band has crafted an album so hard that it almost literally hurts you as you listen to it. Few albums though, in fact almost none, can match the pure unrelenting anger that has been unleashed through Watch Them Die's first self-titled album.
The band, formed from the ruins of several other Oakland based outfits, takes absolutely no prisoners. Its quite clear when you listen to the group that their single objective was to crush the listener, and the sound produced is hard enough to break through concrete. The combination of Greg Valencia and Jase Freakley's pounding guitar work complemented by Pat Mello's bass and Ira Harris's rabidly thumping drums proves to be addictive.
Their work is made even better through the group's combination of two lead vocalists and two backup vocalists, as the blend of growling, screaming, spoken word and the occasional tint of clean singing is enough to get anyone up and moshing. The lyrics sung in these passages are a nice mix of your typical speed metal "I hate everyone" fare along with tints of social criticism and descriptive imagery. Though its nothing that hasn't been heard before, lyrics like "our pain is wealth" and "I lay my guns at your feet" are effective and fitting.
What will really grab your attention in the album though is the slick production. Not only does everything sound fine, but each track comes with some kind of intro that's sure to rattle your cages. The intros are perfect length, continuing to set the dark and depressing environment throughout the album's runtime, but they never are so long that they break up the momentum. This also allows Watch Them Die to put a stamp on their work to make them stand out. Trust me, the first time you hear a man crying, a child yelling "I hate everyone", or the gun shots that eventually kill all these fictional people, you will not forget the next day what you were listening to.
The only problem that Watch Them Die's album faces is that it sounds as if the songs weren't as developed from the jam sessions in which they were created as they could of been. Some songs simply just go too long, wearing out the riffs and your patience. Also, the album does have a distinct feeling of déjà vu throughout all the tracks. Though each one of the intros is unique, the formula the band uses for songs rarely deviates. It's a shame too, because when the band reaches for melody (like in the song ‘Unleashed’) or when they calm down a bit (like in the ending track ‘Resurrection’) Watch Them Die sounds damn right awesome.
Still, don't allow the albums meager flaws keep you from picking it up. This is definitely the hardest thing Century Media records has printed in a long while, and while the band still have room to grow, the seven tracks contained on their first album contain tons of promise.