Watch Them Die 

Bastard Son

Watch Them Die is the rare thrash band that sounds faster on record than in concert, partially because the Oakland-based outfit offers so much visual stimulation that spectators lose track of its velocity. Also, songs like "Born to Suffer," a viola-laced Bastard Son epic that seldom makes the set list, provide contrast that makes the dual-guitar shredding seem even speedier. Excepting a relentless Bathory cover, every track here features a few seconds of melodic solace; lyrically, singer Patrick Vigil pulls off a poignant tribute ("Early Mourning") without a drop of power-ballad sap, then shifts to a song on which he spreads the phrase Separation of skin from bone across an aptly agonizing sixty seconds. Watch Them Die isn't afraid of showing a little emotion or musical ambition, perhaps because Bastard's most potent passages brutally silence would-be mockers.

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