ALBUM REVIEW: The Watchers – Nyctophilia

California. Beaches, blue skies, and blazing sunshine. Unless you’re The Watchers, of course. In which case it’s all about darkness, shadows, and a predilection towards all things of a nocturnal nature. 

If a band’s style or sound can be influenced by their location then this San Franciscan four-piece obviously deal in misdirection. No bright and sunny ’80s thrash from the Bay Area this time, The Watchers bring a classic stoner vibe reminiscent of acts such as High on Fire and Spiritual Beggars among others.

Formed in 2016, the SF four-piece follow-up debut album, Black Abyss and subsequent live EP High and Alive with a second full-length release Nyctophilia (Ripple Music). With its title relating to a love of the darkness, the record opens, appropriately enough, with the acoustic strains and doomy riffs of ‘Twilight’. The fast and insistent “I Am the Dark” quickly takes over, singer/guitarist Tim Narduccis (Systematic, Spiral Arms) voice soaring above the mighty riffs before the absolutely monstrous “They Had No God” launches itself at you, its Black Sabbath meets Alice in Chains stoner hooks reinforced further by a fantastic, bluesy solo from guitarist Jeremy Von Epp.


Von Epp delivers even more showstopping fretwork on the rugged “Garden Tomb,” while the slow and moody “Eastward Through the Zodiac” possesses a distinctly seventies vibe, sort of like Elton John‘s “Rocket Man” jamming with Rainbow before Sabbath crash the party with a juggernaut of a climactic riff.

Its title might be a little on the obvious side but the rhythm section of bassist Chris Lombardo and new drummer Nick Benigno will have you banging your head in no time at all on the massive “Haunt You When I’m Dead.” The adversarial “Fightin’ Bleedin” sounds like prime Soundgarden with a chorus that sounds like Bark at the Moon-era Ozzy Osbourne – no surprise, really, when you take into account the record was produced by none other than former Ozzy studio engineer Max Norman.

The penultimate track “Taker” is stoner/doom rock heaven, while the pulse-pounding title track delivers everything in the band’s armoury. From the riffs to the vocal effects, it’s a hell of a final blow by any standards.

Wearing its influences proudly, while delivering a unique twist of its own, Nyctophilia grabs you from the moment it starts and doesn’t let up until its final glorious ride into pitch-black oblivion.

Buy the album here:


8 / 10