Released: 2003, Century Media Records
I realised early on in my metal career that I preferred Century Media's European bands to their American signees. So I was not very hopeful when a sampler of Watch Them Die made its way to my mailbox, especially not with all the hype that came in the promo sheet. However, Watch Them Die pleasantly surprised me, and eventually found its way to the top of my "Best Debut of 2003" list.
Watch Them Die claim to play a mixture of Bay Area thrash, grindcore, crust, punk and metal. In truth, I think that the sound is much less confusing than this claim, leaning much more towards thrash than the other listed genres, and may well find favour with fans of modern thrash bands such as The Haunted. The band plays heavy and brutal, with more energy than a nuclear reactor. In short, this is the kind of album you play if you're angry ("I hate everybody", as it says in the final track). This is the kind of album you should play your buddies who are into mallcore, just to show them that true metal is about power AND skill. This is the kind of album you can bang your head to till your veins burst (in which case bystanders will probably watch you die).
There are plenty of guitar solos and the vocals are often layered with different styles. "Fall From Grace" and "To See You Bleed" are stand-out tracks that combine energy, melodicism and brutal finesse. I often find that brutal thrash fails to provide tracks that sound distinct. Not so here: every track has enough variation to sound distinct. Many tracks have short narrative intros to add to the morgue atmosphere.
Watch Them Die is not the most unique band to have put music down on CD and they are unlikely to revolutionise metal anytime soon. But their music won over this sceptic. For fans of brutal thrash, "Watch Them Die" should be at the top of their wish lists for the new year. A very very solid debut.