Bart M. : San Francisco Bay area's The Watchers consists of four people that have already gathered quite some experience with other bands in the genre. In this composition they released an EP called 'Sabbath Highway' in December 2016, and now the time has come for their official debut in the form of 'Black Abyss'. Combining these titles gives us the name Black Sabbath and this might give the impression that you are going to listen to music drenched in 70's doom, but that is not the case.
Opener 'Black Abyss' starts out heavy and darkly enough and is somewhat reminiscent of Candlemass, but the more we progress through the album the lighter and more melodic the songs become and from time to time I get the impression that it is bluesy hard rock we are listening to more than metal. Original riffs keep coming though. The sound is really stripped down but The Watchers manages to still come across quite solid. Some of the songs even sport a somewhat power metal-ish sing-along vibe, that brigthens up the dark atmosphere a little. The second last song of the album, 'Suffer Fool', is somewhat surprising, but it's a very pleasant surprise. It starts off a lot quieter than the rest of the songs and immediatel manages to set a very melancholic atmosphere, after which we find ourselves in a river of heavy riffs. The sadness that this song is dripping with does a good job in making me happy. At the end things look as if they are going in the wrong direction: you get the feeling it is going to end in a positive note, but then it abruptly drops back towards the depths and that makes this song the one I consider the highlight of the album.
I think this is a reasonable album. There is not really one label you can put on it and I do get the idea that this band is still trying to find their own sound. There isn't a point on the album that manages to really captivate the listener but still this all sounds as if we are listening to four guys that just want to make good music and enjoy what they are doing, like a jam session that got a little out of hand.