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Somewhat less interesting than the other one - 61%

PorcupineOfDoom, October 4th, 2015

A while back I listened to Watch Me Burn's second and unfortunately final album, and as weird as it was I thoroughly enjoyed it. Eventually I decided to go and hunt down their self-titled debut, although finding any links to a copy proved difficult. It appears that this is down to my observation skills as I was then informed that there were at least two download links in the first page of Google when searching "Watch Me Burn" (I swear that all I found was Rihanna and Eminem's 'Love the Way You Lie'). Eventually I did find what I was looking for though, and now I'm the first to review this album.

Is it as good as At the Stake? Quite simply, no. Watch Me Burn seems quite grindcore orientated, which kind of ruins it for me. At the Stake was rooted in sludge and minimised the elements of grind, of which I am not a great fan. Here it seems to be the other way around, which is a shame. The slower sections are still done to a really competent level, and there is absolutely no doubting the originality of this piece of work, but when everything speeds up it becomes nothing more than a mixture of rapid drumming and noisy guitars. It all seems a bit purposeless when it does that.

I absolutely love the bass on Watch Me Burn though. On their followup it's only really heard when everything else stops, and it's basically only there to add a bit more sludge to the music. Here it is prevalent everywhere, audible more than the guitars for the most part. Even in the grind sections there's always a sludgy feel from the bass, and it's always pretty technical too. While sometimes the rest of the band is a bit underwhelming, the bass playing is always on point and played to perfection, and it really redeems this album despite some of its shortcomings. Not often I get to say that, but there you go.

Sawa's vocals here aren't all that brilliant. They sound buried under everything else for a start, making them seem distant and weak. They're also limited almost solely to wild shrieks that don't really sit right with me. I guess it's not entirely out of place with what's on offer here, but I'd rather there was at least a slight bit of variation from raw screaming for half an hour. Perhaps the vocals being slightly buried isn't that bad a thing here. The odd thing is that there's not that big a difference between the vocals on Watch Me Burn's two albums, yet I find one awful and one to be at least bearable.

The lack of little jazzy inserts also makes this album feel very dry. It's just a pure split between sludgy doom and grindcore. Nothing else to supplement the listener. I'm left listening pretty much entirely to the bass here, because the guitar doesn't really drive things forward like on At the Stake. For anyone interested in Watch Me Burn I'd highly recommend glossing over this album and picking up their effort from 2007. That creation is a masterpiece, while this is unexceptional.