Watch Them Die

Watch Them Die

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Watch Them Die's self-titled debut is a refreshing break from the wave of trendy hardcore-metal released in 2003, and also the hardest, heaviest thing released all year by Century Media. The year's big trends in the hardcore-metal landscape involved bands either delving into emo, aping Swedish death metal, or emulating the mathematical complexity of the Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, and Coalesce. Watch Them Die opt for a less fashionable sound, crossing Pantera with old Bay Area thrash, crusty punk, and bits of classic metal guitar melody into a tight, regimented attack. The production and musicianship are right on throughout, and the dual-personality vocals (slightly reminiscent of Soilent Green) are powerfully delivered, alternating between a bellowing, throat-scraping bark and a higher-pitched shriek that would almost fit on a black metal record. Plenty of bands have attempted, and continue to attempt, this sort of concrete-jungle-bred hardcore-metal sound, and listeners can be forgiven for being weary of yet another band that resembles Pantera to any appreciable degree. But Watch Them Die make it work, thanks to their authoritative performances and their sparing but effective use of dark-edged guitar melody. Again, it's not fashionable, but it's better than a lot of the stuff that is (or was) at the moment. An impressive debut.

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