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1. Instruments of Random Murder 2. The Eldritch 3. Mayday in Kiev 4. The Fall of Reason 5. Control and Resistance 6. Hidden Instincts 7. Life Cycles 8. Dangerous Toys Doug Keyser - bass Ron Jarzombek - guitars Rick Colaluca - drums Alan Tecchio - vocals All tracks Keyser or Jarzombek.
With two extremely innovative prog-metal albums, Watchtower belongs today to the prime division. I think, there should be no place for perpetual rumors of their would-be reunion and a new album. Anyway, up to now the music from these Texas guys remains so astonishing...
The album. Changes of tempos and moods prevail over all the album's tracks, but all of them are quite different in each separate song in the way arrangements are made. In the first Instruments of Random Murder the themes replace one another as if in a caleydoscope. And if the music is, on the whole, very fast, there are lots of unexpected atonal fragments, including simply fantastic "jazzy" guitar-solo in the middle. The musicians possess the highest possible professional level. Unlike Jason McMaster with his incredibly low voice (the original singer), Teccio sings on the other hand in a high-pitched key. Though, he doesn't want to do it too high, which is right, but has to count with the pressure from the other band memders. However, this vocal stylistics is quite OK here, because it is "made by Allan" (I've heard later his great real voice in Doom-metal band Non-Fiction, influenced by the earliest Black Sabbath). The Eldritch is structurally very close to the opener, but it begins with a short drums solo. A beautiful guitar is not "jazzy" here, but it plays a high-speed symphonic part as cello.
The third one Mayday in Kiev (reflections about Chernobyl's catastrophe) begins fast, but the middle of the song is completely dominated by piles of various electric and acoustic guitar classic arrangements. Some bass/guitar themes may call in mind Rush, but only slightly. The Fall of Reason is a more mid-tempo composition with interplays between electric and acoustic rhythm-guitars, with a long, quite outstanding part led by solo-bass (!) The Fall sounds sometimes more symphonic than metallic.
The title-song begins with a nice interplay between bass and semi-acoustic guitar. After a short keyboard (surely) passage the song moves into a faster and heavier realm. Lots of various bass and guitars solos, excellent jazz-like drumming, and an impressive vocalist. Hidden Instinct opens slowly by semi-acoustic guitar, but on the whole, this one structurally resembles tracks 1 and 2. As usual, simply a dazzle of fast themes and solos from a super guitarist and, of course, from a super bassist. And yes, the drumming... There is no monotony at all. Colaluca is the "metallic Bruford", no less!
Life Cycles is a soft and symphonic song on the album. It contains some ballad-like fragments, with other parts in the vein of traditional classic prog. The second half is fast and heavy with, again, a beautiful "jazzy" guitar solo. Dangerous Toys closes the album. This quiet direct techno-thrash song is more typical for the first Watchtower's works.
Summary. Going over the tracks of the album for the first time, there is an impression that it's just a chaotic techno-thrash. This is not so, though. After the next few listenings you'll be deeply impressed by this genius work (of course, if prog-metal finds a place in your life). One of the most adventurous, complex and intricate albums of the genre, "Control and Resistance" contains diverse arrangements, that are performed with a fantastic virtuosity on the part of each musician.
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