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Watchtower - Concepts of Math: Book One CD (album) cover

CONCEPTS OF MATH: BOOK ONE

Watchtower

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.09 | 18 ratings

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Nightfly
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Way back in 1989 I remember buying Watchtower's second album Control And Resistance. This was early days for prog metal, especially as technical as Watchtower were. There was already Fates Warning and Queensrhyche and these guys were no slouches, but nowhere near as technical as Watchtower. Even Dream Theater were just getting started. However, despite the undisputed virtuosity on display I was left somewhat cold finding it being a case of style over substance with little in the way of memorable songs.

Fast forward to 2016 and they're back with the same line-up as Control And Resistance. Concepts Of Math: Book One is their first substantial body of work since then. It's a five track E.P. clocking in at just under half an hour. Four of the five tracks were originally released as digital only singles, the first back in 2010. They recorded the final track Mathematica Calculis especially for inclusion here.

I'm pleased to say I like this a lot better than their earlier work. The reason being that whilst their incredible chops are still intact, in fact better, their song writing skills have also greatly improved. The music is still incredibly complicated with jazz colliding with metal but flows so much better to my ears with some jaw dropping musical interplay, compelling riffs and injected with a substantial dose of melody. Age has also tempered Alan Tecchio's histrionic vocals which are much improved these days and to my ears his singing flows much better over the complex song structures than before. Fortunately all five tracks are excellent and the short length definitely left me wanting more so hopefully a full length album will be in the offing soon.

These days there's there's no shortage of bands making music this complex in the metal world, but Watchtower played an important role in the development of technical prog metal and were very influential. Perhaps now they may be able to reap some of the rewards from their earlier groundwork and gain a wider following. On the strength of this excellent release that seems a strong possibility.

Nightfly | 4/5 |

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