As it turns out, Watch The Skies is an early candidate for my year end Top 10. I am extremely impressed by the tightness Space Chaser plays with and the overall production of the album. Every instrument is clear and crisp and the bass sounds incredible, almost as good as the killer tone on the last Skeletonwitch record. Some of the riffs sound recycled, but that kind of goes with the territory whenever you're part of a revival scene, I suppose. But the majority of the riffs sound as good as anything from the 1980s thrash heyday. Watch The Skies will definitely get your head banging if you have even the slightest amount of metal flowing through your veins. The leads are stunning, too. A+ stuff, guys.
Two complaints here, one minor and one major. First, the big one...the singer sounds a little too much like a Joey Belladonna clone for my liking. The lyrics are all about space which is kind of lame, but these guys are German, so that's forgivable. The vocals, however, just don't fit with the music. I'm a Belladonna guy (at least versus that other turd who replaced him and killed Anthrax), but I'm just not feeling this guy for most of the album. He has some moments where he channels Geoff Tate and solo-era Bruce Dickenson and if he can harness those moments, he's going to be a hell of a frontman. There's also a killer scream/growl thing at the end of "Predator" that is absolutely insane. Loved it.
The minor complaint is the track order. The 'B-Side' of Watch The Skies absolutely blows the first 5 tracks away, beginning with a killer instrumental, "Space Chaser", that I would classify as "must hear". The entire second half of the album is amazing and I'm left wondering why Space Chaser put the weaker stuff up front. Maybe I'm missing something. I mean, the first 5 tracks are great, but they just don't hold a candle to the last 5, excluding the penultimate track, "Thrashold", which is just a terrible play on words. Again, forgiveness granted due to the German thing.
Overall, this is a highly impressive debut. The young German thrashers take everything that ruled from the old thrash and cut out the fat from the new wave to put together one of the best releases of 2014 so far. Keep an eye on these dudes. I'm expecting big things in the future.
Space Chaser's Watch The Skies will be released in North America and the UK thru This Charming Man Records on May 5, 2014. The rest of our European friends can look for the album on April 12.