Demo:listen: The Watcher

Make way for new Bostonian heavy metal doomers The Watcher whose two-song 7”/three-song Bandcamp debut Your Turn to Die undeniably crushes, casting potential like a witch curses the blood of those about to burn her. Indeed, The Watcher’s own provenance seems to grant the trio and their debut a certain kind of contextual atmosphere. From New England, here comes The Watcher and their jaw-dropping debut.


Your Turn to Die

According to M. Furst, guitarist and bassist of The Watcher, what would eventually become Your Turn to Die started to come together “in early 2016.” Furst says, “I was on the recent rebound from leaving a band I had played with for nearly a decade. Most of my prior bands were in the darker and heavier realm of metal, so I wanted to do something more straightforward and fun. It was also a challenge to myself to compose and perform the music as much on my own as possible. I’m a bass player by trade and this was my first attempt at playing guitar for a band of this style. It was definitely a technical stretch for me but I thoroughly enjoyed it.” 

Furst writes that later that year in 2016 drummer C. Spraker joined the fold. Furst says, “I had tried playing with a few other musicians by that point but nothing panned out. People simply weren’t interested in doing a band like this and it was hard to get anyone to commit, [C. Spraker] was the only person willing to give it a shot. By that point we had already known each other for almost 20 years but never formally played music together so it was a good opportunity to bridge that gap. We jammed the songs pretty steadily for about a year before eventually tracking what became the demo EP.”

“Recorded at Dead Air Studios” back in “November 2017,” reads The Watcher’s liner notes. Furst goes on to explain: “By late 2017, [C.] and I had been working on the songs for almost a year. At that point I decided I wanted to push forward and track the demo without a singer. This was partially with the intent of using the demo to find a vocalist, but also because I wanted some tangible document of our hard work up to that point. I also hoped that perhaps people would take me more seriously if I could present a solid demo for them to see it wasn’t just a vague concept for a band, it was more or less a complete thought.

“From there it was about 3 years of searching around for a singer,” Furst continues. “That entailed me pursuing every avenue I could think of and growing increasingly more hopeless with each dead end I was met with. Over time the project slowly just got put on the back burner while we focused on our main band.”

Crucial and sick as it is, The Watcher rule so hard because their vocalist has a great voice and knows how to sing. Somehow, it’s like M. Furst knew P. Reed was out there. 

“This past summer I decided to give it one final attempt before shelving the project for good,” remembers Furst. “On a total whim I contacted Reuben [Storey, of recent Demo:listen fame], which led to meeting [P. Reed].” According to Furst, The Watcher’s vocalist [P. Reed] “has played guitar/bass in quite a few bands around Olympia over the years, handling occasional vocal duty as well, but I believe this is his first time being featured as a lead singer.”

Furst says, “I’ll never forget how floored I was when he sent me the first demo of ‘Your Turn to Die.’ This was back in July of 2020. After literal years of trying to find the right person to help complete the songs, I immediately knew I had found them. I couldn’t have hoped to partner with a more talented and easy to work with individual. He absolutely nailed it from the start and undoubtedly gave the songs their crowning touch.”

From there, Furst says, Your Turn to Die “came together pretty quickly. [P.] did a few scratch vocal tracks for the songs and we made some very minor adjustments on things but he more or less hit the target with his initial scratch tracks. Once things felt right, he went into his brother’s studio out in Olympia and did the final takes. I did some additional overdubs here in Boston and then worked with Will at Dead Air (who engineered the original session) to do the final mix.”

Furst makes sure to credit drummer C. Spraker’s performance as the source for “a lot of the energy.” Furst says, Spraker’s “a phenomenal drummer. He would always understand the patterns/ideas I wanted to incorporate into the songs and he would execute them with precision each time, usually adding his own flare to things (tastefully). That definitely comes through in the music and I think it’s important to give him credit for that.”

Furst admits having “gone through the full spectrum of emotions regarding” the recording session for Your Turn to Die. When you have 3 years to sit on something and ruminate, self-doubt is inevitable. I can say that we accomplished the main objective I wanted to achieve which was creating a big and full sound. I didn’t want to try and sound ‘retro,’ I wanted to keep it real and true to what we got. The songs are all written on a down-tuned guitar. I was a bit nervous of how the end result would be, but the lower notes are used sparingly and it helps to give some extra depth to the songs. [P. Reed]’s vocals compliment that perfectly and ultimately crystallizes what became the overall sound.” 

Regarding the 7” and the missing song, the slightly more aggressive “Until It Bleeds,” Furst says, “To be totally honest, the 7” was a bit of an afterthought. I was originally just going to do a run of cassettes (it was a demo afterall), but the songs came out way better than I had anticipated and felt I owed it to us all to do a proper vinyl release. I liked the idea of doing a two-song 45, something simple akin to many of the classic NWOBHM singles. So ‘Until It Bleeds’ was omitted simply due to time constraints. It’s caused a bit of confusion, and disappointment, for some people but what’s done is done. No regrets!” Furst laughs, then says there’s no plans for a repress of Your Turn to Die, but hints that “perhaps it will be included on another future release.”

Considering the crux of this mighty debut, Furst says, “I think the themes on the EP are quite fitting for the times we have been living in, particularly this past year. We are experiencing forever-world changing events in realtime. Global meltdowns on an actual biblical scale. That doesn’t harbor just your typical sorrow and sadness, but literal “doom” in the truest sense of the word. You can either go out hiding and cowering from it all, or you can face your fear, stand strong and march onward through the darkness. We’d like this EP to be a testament to the latter. Accepting your mortality, embracing your inevitable demise, and entering into the unknown unhindered!” 

Furst admits, “Just getting the EP out to the world is a major accomplishment for us and we’re still riding that wave. The fact that it’s been so well received is encouraging for sure so we’d love to do more. I’m hoping to release a full-length at some point but we’re still a ways off from that. In the meantime we’re just going to keep writing and working on new material until it feels right.”

In the meantime, we’ll know these songs by heart a hundred times over.

Get Your Turn to Die straight from The Watcher