Cosmic Rock


STORM WATCHERS - 'Oblivion' EP Review


- Pat "Riot' Whitaker




From the Queen City, Charlotte, North Carolina, we have the newly issued, 4-song 'Oblivion' EP from the band Storm Watchers in the spotlight today.


The group's Bandcamp page offers a comment pertaining to these being a sampling of songs for the here and now, while a "full album is in the works". So, are you asking just what it is we have here, yet? If so, then good, that's the right question to be asking, because I am here to answer it for you.


The answer begins with the obvious, an EP, but it is what is contained on that EP where things take on a most interesting hue. It all begins with the astounding introductory cut, "Stormwatcher", and I won't front, the track utterly blew my mind from the first listen. After a brief, psychedelically tinted intro rolls it out, a highly energized uptempo delivery unfurls and away we go!


There is an immediate 90s grunge vibe / alt. rock vibe going on, it grips you as an ominous, otherworldly darkness seems to emanate from the song itself. It is eerie and foreboding, utterly inescapable as hazy guitars emit a constant buzz and kit crushing drums pound away. Then there is vocalist Celeste King, her soulful vocals wail away in a raspy, bluesy flow that originates from a powerful place.


This is as good a point as any to reveal that she, and bassist Matt Owens, are the source for writing nearly all of the material here, with drummer Josey Bjurstrom providing drums on this recording. Storm Watchers are currently working with a new, as yet-to-be-identified drummer after Bjurstrom recently had to relocate. This EP also contains contributions from guitarist Shannon St Clair, who also receives co-writing credits for the next track poised to amaze us, "Birds On Fire".


It is a thick, riff driven juggernaut that begins with a soupy fog of melodic nuances at first, ones that gradually begin to build in strength and presence. They meander for just the right amount of time before a wall of crushing guitar is unveiled and a male vocal narrates the verses at first. Soon enough, Celeste's vocals are subtly layered in the mix as this restrained behemoth of psych-doom decimates all that lies before it... doing so just short of seven and a 1/2 minutes playing time.


"Oblivion" awaits us now, coming in from above with a somewhat blues-ish beginning laden with fuzzy guitars and grooving rhythms. Just about the point where you fully fall under this sonic enchantment, instrument borne detonation occurs beneath King's banshee-like wail and we are launched headlong into this one. Dizzying guitars discharge lick after lick as rhythmic pulses ripple with equally vertiginous effect, the song seemingly spinning all about us.


With three down, there is one left to go, one where we must answer "The Call". Distinguished by a much more calm constitution that its predecessor, the players rally within the hazily transmitted start of the song. It gains momentum and before we know it, we are well underway within the elements of yet another astonishing composition. With a riveting allure, the song's music once again channels the retro feel of the grunge era, all while allowing each person to shine in the spotlight at the right moment.


There you have it, my take on the fantastical first outing from Storm Watchers, the 'Oblivion' EP. If you are a fan of unique music capable of setting itself far apart from the usual fare, take heed. If you are a fan of the types of music that took the world by storm throughout the Nineties, grunge and alternative rock, then you will find this of interest, and you too should take heed. If you are a fan of music that channels emotion, emits vibrancy, and is able to stimulate and enthrall, guess what? Yeah, take heed. NOW!


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