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Watchtower - Control And Resistance CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.12 | 164 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars One of cornerstones of the tech-metal sub-genre and one of its most influential, next to Cynic's 'Focus'. With their second album, Watchtower's insanely tight rhythm section added guitarist Ron Jarzombek and vocalist Alan Tecchio to the lineup. Tecchio's vocals have come in for a lot of scorn over the years, but I defend his performance here. He's insanely stretched to the limit, but consider: 1) the band pushed him to sing higher, and higher, and higher. This is documented fact. And 2), the material demands it. I mean, YOU try singing over this madness! Their ridiculously technical approach would be a challenge for any vocalist, and Tecchio rises to the challenge. He may not come up with catchy refrains as Spiral Architect's Oyvind Haegeland managed on their 'A Sceptic's Universe', but his sense of panic and hysteria sits perfectly well with the over- caffeinated tech-insanity on offer.

I admit, Tecchio does sound a little lost on opener "Instruments Of Random Murder". One of their most over-the-top songs, it serves to weed out the casual listeners quickly, appealing only to the most demanding fan of highly complex metal. Things become only slightly more comprehensible with key songs "Mayday In Kiev" and the title track (which explodes with highlights). "The Fall Of Reason" seems a nakedly honest homage to Rush, considering the Lee-like bass approach and Jarzombek's Lifeson- esque melodic figures. And if you're looking for a slightly less manic Watchtower, the ears wrap easily around "Life Cycles", a contemplative, philosophical number of relative calm, which sounds to me like Alan Tecchio's best-ever vocal performance. The players involved seem like the kind of musicians that could play absolutely ANYTHING that popped into their heads, and it's a distinct pleasure to hear them performing at the very peak of their abilities here.

The recording is tight, clean, a bit dry and cold. Holes appear in the drum sound, Rick Colaluca's brainwarping playing knocked down a few notches by a thin, papery sound. Would've been nice to hear more balls in the percussive area. Still, 'Control And Resistance' is a pleasing if difficult listen, worth every bit of the many hours you'll need to understand it. The world (or a small population thereof) still eagerly awaits the long- promised third album, 'Mathematics'. But I'm still enjoying the challenge of this relic of mad genius.

slipperman | 4/5 |


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