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Watchtower - Control and Resistance CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.13 | 141 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Groundbreaking technical metal album way ahead of it's time.

WATCHTOWER are a criminally underrated and unknown band, they pretty much invented progressive metal with their incredible technical thrashin' debut 'Energetic Disassembly' back in 1985 and their follow up 'Control and Resistance' is a lot different and more refined but just as good.

The music is quite demanding of the listener, it's certainly an acquired taste as with any kind of technical music, the neck-breaking tempo changes and odd time signatures can make you go insane if you think too hard about them and you can't have technical music without technical musicians, these guys really know how to play their instruments. The drums here are great, very syncopated and thought provoking, they almost never just stick to a beat, there are always nuances and fills that go over the bar line, the bass is every bit as good, it's quite noticeable and high up in the mix which is great because it contributes a great deal both melodically and rhythmically to the music playing the role of intermediary between guitar and drums perfectly. Ron Jarzombek's guitar is something else entirely, his tone and style are instantly recognizable and his wailing harmonised solos are incredibly original are his atonal riffs and licks. Now the vocals are a bit of a sticking point for many people being absurdly over the top, aggressive, high pitched and with operatic vibrato and the lyrics usually involve technological paranoia. I can understand many people discounting the band for the vocals alone I know I did to start but I grew to tolerate and even really enjoy them in time, it's one of those things you either love or hate and if you hate it you really need to give it a chance.

This is one of those albums that is really solid the whole way through, you couldn't pick a weak track out of the bunch, the album is furious and mind bending the whole way through, there are some definite highlights though, the best track is probably the title track with it's compelling political lyrics, it's perfectly structured technicality, it's triumphant chorus and it's bitchin' solo, it's the perfect embodiment of everything that's good about the album. 'Life Cycles' is a fairly mellow song by WATCHTOWER standards and is also a killer track with a strong sense of melody which is something never lost on the guitar genius Jarzombek, even with his über-technical band SPASTIC INK. The album ends on a real high point with 'The Fall of Reason' with some great bass work a nice warm solo and a triumphant chorus yet again.

Control and Resistance is an absolute must for any technical metal fan, if you can get over the vocals then you will definitely find this being one of your favourite albums, fans of SPASTIC INK, BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS and MEKONG DELTA will most likely enjoy.

FruMp | 5/5 |


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