Under Review


Triumph and Despair (Independent)

review by Adam Johannesson

It’s hard to fully comprehend what you’re getting yourself into when tuning into the new WTCHDR album Triumph and Despair. Emerging out of the opening track “The Pilgrimage,” subtle sounds of rattling bones and dripping water quickly give way to the opening line “GET F*****,” which punches its way through the silence and accelerates slowly but assertively straight into the heart of the album.

WTCHDR is the lovechild of WRITE OFF, Memorial, Night Terrors and Burning Ghats, consisting of Chris Stiles (vocals), Cam Strudwick (guitar), Andrew Temple (drums), and Kevin Grindor (guitar). Triumph and Despair materialized over the last two years; it was recorded in September at Rain City Recorders and was mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege in Portland, the man behind such heavyweights as Sleep and All Pigs Must Die, as well as Burning Ghats.

It’s evident that there is an underlying urge for rapid change of rhythm, beat and genre as you are led through an inferno of hefty musical structures appearing as fast as they crumble, only to be held up through a deafening breakdown that abruptly ends to give way for a new set of trashy grindcore ideas indulged in powerviolence with a taste of straight-up hardcore.

On the third track “I Think I Can,” Andrew Drury from Baptists laid down some much-welcomed guest vocals, diversifying an already diverse record. With most songs clocking in at around one minute, except for “The Bonefinger,” “Like a Coward,” and the ending track, “Shatter Their Bones,” it leaves little breathing room for reflection yet contains an abundance of diverse potential.

In all honesty, what you experience within the first 40 seconds of the album gives you a lot to think about. You realize that there is a plethora of ideas that want out and there is no doubt that this is the place for the members to feel truly unconstrained and able to let loose. WTCHDR, as a side project, was meant for this very thing, a place for wild ideas and perfect mosh soundtracks.