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Watchtower - Control and Resistance CD (album) cover

CONTROL AND RESISTANCE

Watchtower

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.10 | 127 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Control And Resistance" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Texas based technical/progressive metal act Watchtower. The album was released through Noise Records in November 1989. Itīs been a few years since the release of "Energetic Disassembly (1985)", which wasnīt normal in those days, but there have been two lineup changes since the debut, which might explain the relatively long time between albums. Lead vocalist Jason McMaster has been replaced by Alan Tecchio and guitarist Billy White has been replaced by Ron Jarzombek. The remaining members of the lineup are bassist Doug Keyser and drummer Rick Colaluca.

Stylistically the music on "Control And Resistance" is a continuation of the fusion influenced technical/progressive metal style which was introduced on "Energetic Disassembly (1985)". Watchtower have however become even more sophisticated in terms of technical skill and the compositions are more complex in structure than the case was on the debut. Thereīs an adventurous futuristic spirit to the project which makes it quite a unique listen. The music is rooted in thrash metal but transcends that musical description as a result of the many fusion influences, and Tecchioīs ultra high pitched screaming vocals are also more prog/power related than thrash metal oriented.

While both McMaster and White were accomplished musicians, their replacements take it up a notch, which makes "Control And Resistance" a more challenging and extreme release than itīs predecessor. Tecchio hits some insanely high notes and Jarzombekīs jazz/fusion influenced playing is virtuosic. They are complimented by the very well playing rhythm section of Keyser and Colaluca. Those two produce one jaw dropping moment after another throughout the album. While there are defined riffs and rhythms in the music, it sometimes feels like drums, bass, and guitar, are playing solo at the same time. Watchtower make it work though, as they are skilled composers too, who understand that there have to be a minimum of recognisable hooks and melodies even in music this focused on technical playing. Itīs not easily accessible music, and the hooks might take some time to recognise and to settle, but it is a case of finding gold upon repeated listens.

All material on the 8 track, 43:08 minutes long album is of a high quality. Every track is a little musical journey in itself, but the material is consistent both in style and in quality. So itīs not an album where it makes sense to single out highlights. "Control And Resistance" is also a very well produced album, where each instrument (including the vocals) are given space and clarity in the mix. Itīs a powerful sound with bite and edge, which compliments the aggression which the music also features. And it is important to emphasize, because "Control And Resistance" is often accused of not being anything else but a technical wankery fest, but there is actually a lot of "metal" aggression and bite featured in the music too, and itīs the combination of raw aggression and sophisticated technical playing, which makes it so unique for the time. It truly is a one of a kind type of album, which was not only groundbreaking at the time of release, but has also since inspired legions of technically focused metal artists. A 5 star (100%) rating is fully deserved.

UMUR | 5/5 |

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