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Ted Reckoning photo

Seek Help Now

Don’t let the grim sounds of WTCHDR fool you because they are really a bunch of swell guys. They really are. But if you dig into their second full length record Triumph and Despair (released April 2nd) you may get a bleak, ominous feeling inside your wretched stomach right off the bat.

With lead off track, “The Pilgrimage”, laid down like a stone blanket on a bed of nails Bending dissident chords, doomtastic guitar squeals, is completed with a deranged mad man on vocals.

If you dive even further into the lyrical content you will not see any light or a tunnel - just a big cave in of agony and feelings of helplessness.

WTCHDR publishes the lyrics on their bandcamp page. That is a good thing because if you try to pick up on exactly what vocalist Christopher Stiles is ranting about you’d be hard pressed as it is delivered in a caustic mail-bomb. From start to finish, it is the perfect soundtrack to getting buried alive while you slowly suffocate in a plastic bag. The album does not relent at any point.

It was odd to sit down with the guys and hear them talk in such a jovial manner about what makes them tick with such pessimism. “When I’ve had too much to drink and I am depressed or something happens that I get pissed off, I’ll just write it down,” Stiles dwells on his lyrical input. “Maybe the reason I write all this shit that is really depressing and a bit of a bummer is because I am writing for someone else to read into things so they can figure out what the fuck is wrong with me. I just put it all out there and don’t hold anything back. I have no shame. I know who I am.” There is your invite to be Stiles’ therapist.

Take a peek at the lyrics as you listen. It only enhances the ride that is chaotic, fun and often unnerving. But beware, you may need to seek help yourself afterwards. Not to be outdone by their vocalist, the dual guitar pivot of Kevin Grindon and Cam Strudwick stoke the flames with dirt and compliment the dreariness with a sonic violation that mixes all the glumfull aspects of hardcore, doom, and sand blasting extreme metal. Driven by drummer Andrew Burry, the songs come fast and quick. Most click in at about a minute, give or take a second. Triumph and Despair may have thirteen songs but to call it a full length may be a stretch. It is perfect for those that may have a short attention span. “That’s just the way she goes,” explains Strudwick. “The only songs we have over a minute long are super sludgy and slow.” Which adds another slant to this band: it’s not a one minded free fall. They can slow it down with the best of them.

With the release of a new album comes time for live shows and this is where WTCHDR thrive. With small tour jaunts and local shows planned for the summer they take pride in being a must see for music lovers of the cathartic nature. “This band is all about the live show,” Strudwick proclaims. Stiles pipes in, “if you’re pissed off or bummed out, just come down and it will put a smile on your face.” They are a punishing act and you deserve what they put forth. They fill the venue with volume and smother it with layers of power. Don’t forget to go talk to them after the show. I dare you. They’re quite nice.

Listen to WTCHDR’s Triumph and Despair on Bandcamp

-Heath Fenton