Watcher’s Eye - Watcher’s Eye [EP]
The bio on the website reads “Watcher's Eye is a theatrical Metal band that aims to bring the ‘Show’ back to the genre.” Hey, I can appreciate that. There’s nothing quite like a show that’s fun to watch and sounds good. I think it’s what every music fan wants when they see their favorite artists. By looking at the Watcher’s Eye band photo it looks like they have the look and stage presence pretty well covered, so my concern was the sound that might come from this Seattle quintet.
First impressions when I started to spin this 6-song self-titled EP were many. I thought the guitar sound was excellent. I thought they had a progressive sound, almost like a speed metal version of Dream Theater; with complex guitar runs and hammering drum fills. I thought vocalist Michael Vanson had a lilting type of depth, and I found the first track (“That Night”) to have some nice melodies. All these thoughts hit me while I listened to the first track, but after I finished listening to the disc I found a few things that I missed.
There are two sides to singer Michael Vanson. There is the bellowing, impassioned singer and the possessed screamer. The balance is delicate for a singer to be successful, and I think Vanson does a nice job here. I’ve heard other guys try this approach, the most celebrated among them probably being Five Finger Death Punch singer Ivan L. Moody, and I’ve never really been fond of this duality. I find that Vanson does it better than most because of his smooth transitions from sing to scream, and his feel for the song. The screams have to be warranted and come at the correct times, and Vanson shows a good ability to do that.
The other thing that struck me about these songs is their serious lyrical content. Without being too over-the-top about things, these songs talk about themes of torture and pain, and emotional scarring. These may be standard issue in the metal genre, but they are delivered really well by Vanson and his band.
As the guitars maintained their tight progressive sound throughout the disc, and the melodies tucked themselves inside these speed metal songs quite nicely, I realized that Watcher’s Eye just might have a shot at being the next big thing in metal.