Artist: Watchers and Hunters
Title: Cruel World
Release Date: 04/03/14
Reviewer: Scott Swan
- Cruel World (ft.Brook Reeves)
- Dead Cities
- Nightwalker (ft. Victor Cota)
- Forgotten (ft. Hotel Books)
- Regret (ft.Mike Perez)
Since an upheaval in 2010 after losing their lead singer to other projects. Vocalist Mark Mariscal has rejoined Watchers and Hunters, who are now reformed and ready to roll. Not only is the band itself reformed, but the band’s sound has been a bit retooled from their their previous EP, “Hope.” The new album, “Cruel World,” features a heavier, darker sound, while also showcasing some well incorporated guest appearances. In an interview, the band speaks of Impending Doom as being influential to them. While the band is not that heavy on the metal scale, this record is certainly more of a step toward that direction than their previous work. The southern California band has put together a collection of songs sure to please most metalheads.
Lyrically, WAH brings an unyielding message of hope, and firmly attests that hope is to be found in the Gospel. Their faith is clearly the basis for their life and music, they mix no words in showing that. As stated before, this album is heavy. Not just musically, but the more marketed change is in the vocals. Deeper snarling growls with a few electronic vocal effects mixed in. I believe, for some, this change will be a little hard to swallow. In regards to the overall flavor of the music, I felt the band really brought it. Well crafted melodic riffs and pounding drums provide plenty of hard metallic groove to go around.
The title track is the first on the album, and really gives you a taste of the changes. Featuring Brook Reeves from the aforementioned Impending Doom providing some guest vocals on this track, with the snarling line; “Where will you go when you die!” The song then goes on to speak about the battles in the spiritual realm and the need to put on the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:13). “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that you will be able to withstand in the evil days.”
The guest appearances continue on the track, “Nightwaker” featuring Victor Cota from The Great Commission. It’s a song that paints an elegant picture of someone going through a rough night and crying out to God for help. “You never gave up on me/When I gave up on myself.” A raw, honest song that speaks of being depend on God. This is a standout track for me, and one of my favorites.
The next tune, “Unveiling” is one of the hardest ones on the record. Brutal from beginning to end, focusing on when the Day of the Lord is revealed. One could argue a lack of musical diversity in the middle portion of the record here, but it sure would be hard to argue a lacking of intensity. The track, “Immersed” carries some hard hitting riffs, riffs that even a non-headbanger might find themselves bobbing their head.
“Forgotten” gets some help from spoken word band Hotel Books. A song that seems to be putting the issues of abandonment and neglect in the spotlight, and dealing with the anger and rage that accompanies it. The spoken word section toward the end of the track is well done and adds a nice variance to the record. “Anthem” deals with counting on the Lord for strength and guidance in times of fearing. Ending with shouts of, “I will conquer my fear, My strength comes from above.”
The closing track on the record is “Abused.” This song made an appearance on their previous EP, “Hope.” Funny, it was the first track on the EP, but the last one on the full length. Remade in the heavier style, “Abuse” is lyrically powerful, and is sung from the perspective of an abused person (presumably an abused woman). “Fist to my face/Eyes to the Sky/I’m better than this/I’ll make it out alive.” Then turning toward trying to find a place of forgiveness with the closing lines, “Forgiving you has been the hardest thing/I’ve ever had to do/Why can’t you see that hurting me/Is also hurting you.”
Overall: Any fan of the metalcore/metal genres should have no issue buying into this new album from WAH. The guests on this record are a nice touch, (especially Hotel Books, in my opinion). As I said above, the new sound might be a turn off for some, but for others it might be a welcome change if you enjoy the heavier side of things. I enjoyed this record, there was a enough groove and solid musicianship to keep things interesting and a pleasant listen for me.
RIYL: Leaders, Devil Wears Prada, The Great Commission, Impending Doom