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The Watch


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The Owl
4 stars OK, it's not totally original but man, I tell you what, this is SILL one very fun and engaging listen, great arrangements, sounds, production and songs! Way more teeth and guts than ANY neo-prog band by a long shot. Perfect music for driving through a snow-blanketed countryside (this is how I actually experienced it)!

The best Genesis album that Genesis NEVER made!

Report this review (#22186)
Posted Monday, January 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now and then a new artist or band takes you by surprise. I was totally astounded by the Italian band The WATCH's debut album "Ghost". Actually I don't know whether The WATCH is a new band or not, because the vocalist Simone Rossetti were singing in a band called The NIGHT WATCH before, but he's the only connection between the two bands.

I was expecting an album with reminiscences to KING CRIMSON, but I immediately found out that the music is very similar to Peter GAGRIEL-era GENESIS with lots of magnificent bombastic Mellotron. You can't help thinking about GENESIS albums such as "Trespass" (1970), "Nursery Cryme" (1971), "Foxtrot" (1972), "Selling England By The Pound" (1973) and songs such as "Firth Of Fifth", "Musical Box" and "Watcher Of The Skies" when hearing The WATCH. The similarity doesn't only lie in the music, because Simone Rossetti's voice is very close to Peter GABRIEL. GENESIS is actually the only band I come to think about, but perhaps there are some reminiscences to CATHEDRAL, KING CRIMSON, MARILLION, SPOCK'S BEARD and ÄNGLAGARD too.

Although the very obvious GENESIS references they're far from GENESIS clones because of the magnificent compositions that they're delivering. Now I have to try to get hold of a proper copy of this album, because my CDR advance copy has some dropouts on the last track. Italy has always been one of the leading lands of Progressive Rock, and now they can add another classic to the list. This might be the best album of the year 2001. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#22187)
Posted Monday, February 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars Genesis clone or clown? Maybe both. Well this not that bad if you don't mind impersonators but purpose-less IMHO. I saw them live as still the Nightwatch and they came across the public (not just me but almost everybody bar a few over-enthusiasts who would like to remain blind) as Genesis wanabees. Apart from those considerations , they do a good job at what they do , but I sense not much personality and this is enough for me to give it a negative review.
Report this review (#22188)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Some say a clone, some a poor impression of PGG. I say WOW what an excellent album, so good in fact that it rated as my album of the year in 2001.What's all the rubbish about clones, most great prog bands wear their influences proudly on their sleeves.The WATCH are no exception but those who call them a clone, play the CD again and discover an exceptional piece of Progressive music and a brilliant follow up to the also exceptional The NIGHT WATCH: "Twilight" album featuring Simone Rossetti on vox. Tony Doran
Report this review (#22189)
Posted Sunday, March 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars OK, it's a GENESIS-Gabriel era clone, but... what a fine clone! Not too much to say about "Ghost", just one thing: this is the album that GENESIS didn't do between "Selling England" and "The Lamb".

Instrumentation, atmospheres, melodies... everything sounds as the real GENESIS and, of course, Simone Rosetti sings as Peter Gabriel. But -honestly- I prefer by far a good clone more than an original boring or chill band.

If you love GENESIS '70-'75 albums (as almost everybody in the prog world), you'll love this one. Even if you have some prejudices against clones, try to forget them and listen to "Ghost": You'll enjoy it.

Report this review (#22192)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars It meant a lot to me, listening to 'Ghost'. It brought me straight back to my youth in which I discovered the meaning of excellent music. Then I discovered Genesis. I was 15 (now I'm 45). What Genesis did in their early period was pure excellence. Since that moment, I have discovered a lot of other bands who bring that same kind of music: excellence. But when I first listenend to 'Ghost', there was that little 'extra': 'pure' excellence. 'Ghost' sounds like what Genesis wrote in their early period, otherwise it wouldn't have brought me back. But I don't care: the music on 'Ghost' is pure excellence to me.
Report this review (#22195)
Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars WHAT AN INCREDIBLE ALBUM!!!!! this is what prog is all about.... superb keyboards, superb and complex drumming,it's sounds like old genesis!!! complex rythm changes great melodies....... in the vein of Genesis.One of the best prog band ever!!! go out and buy it.... PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Report this review (#22198)
Posted Saturday, January 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm not usually very keen on clone bands, but this time I must say that I was blown away...No need to say that this sounds very much like peter gabriel era Genesis...but they do it so well, it sounds so natural..."Ghost" is their second album and my favourite, its incredible to hear the maturity of the music here. No track is a throwaway, very emotional lyrics, music, voice...These guys are genius. I don't have much more to say, but if you like Genesis, Camel, King Crimson, Anglagard, Yes...just give this a listen, and you'll be hooked ! I just don't understand the one or two bad reviews on this page...Listen to it a few more times maybe...May "the Watch" live a long long life, and bring out many albums just as good as this one in future...
Report this review (#22199)
Posted Friday, April 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Having purchased, and enjoyed, The Nightwatch's excellent album, 'Twilight' (see my review of that album separately) I took the plunge and bought this one. Of course, this is, apart from Simone Rossetti, a different band, but they still sound close to The Nightwatch. However, the album itself is, for me, a bit of a disappointment. On 'Twilight', Simone's vocals are very good, and the Italian accent is kept to a minimum. On this recording, his voice seems to have regressed, and the Italian accent is much stronger. Also, he doesn't suite trying to sing in a humorous or sarcastic way very well. On top of this, the nice sense of melody on 'Twilight' is missing on here. One song in particular comes to mind, track 6, 'Moving Red', which meanders aimlessly really. My least favourite track on the album. Nevertheless, there are some good moments too. Tracks 3, 5 & 6 are all very good, track 5, 'Riding The Elephant' being the least like Genesis, and yet one of the best, quite romantic in the keyboard department. In fact, the keyboards dominate this group, and I like the playing of Gabriele Manzini very much. '...And The Winner Is...' has a definite Genesis feel about it, especially in the guitar department, sounding like something off Nursery Cryme or Foxtrot. Overall though, I think my favourite has to be 'Heroes', which has an excellent melody, good singing, and the typical Genesis sound to it. Tracks 1 & 2 have their moments, but are generally weaker in structure and melody, and singing too! Still, this is a decent effort, and, once again, Genesis fans looking for a similar sounding outfit, will enjoy this, as I do, but not as much as 'Twilight'. If you can only afford to buy one, then make it the latter.
Report this review (#22200)
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I read all the reviews I could find on this band and fully expected a Genesis clone band the likes of which have not been seen since Kyrie Eleison or Newschwanstein. I have no problem with clones if done well. I was hoping and expecting "the best album Genesis never released". Boy was I misled. The two aforementioned bands each released an album so much like vintage Genesis, it made my heart soar. This ladies and gentlemen does not come close. Simone Rossetti does not sound all that much like Peter Gabriel and his accent is quite pronounced and distracting. The compositions mostly have that 'wall of sound' that is so prevalent with modern bands. That trait has nothing in common with Genesis. I agree that there are occasional Genesis like moments, but they seem contrived, or pasted in, not a natural part of the arrangement. If you want to come as close to possible to Foxtrot era Genesis, try Kyrie Eleison or Newschwanstein. DO NOT BELIEVE THE HYPE and spend your money only to be (very) disappointed as I was. Buyer beware.
Report this review (#37289)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars If you don't have a problem with a band that sounds like the second coming of the early Genesis, The Watch will delight you! The first time I listened to this Italian formation I could hardly believe my ears: the vocals are almost similar to Peter Gabriel and the Hammond organ and Mellotron sound have strong echoes from Tony Banks. The compositions sound very pleasant and melodic featuring lots of majestic choir-Mellotron eruptions, beautiful twanging acoustic guitars, sensitive and howling electric guitar and many shifting moods. THIS IS A WONDERFUL EARLY GENESIS TRIBUTE!
Report this review (#44255)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I had some fears about this band.The first one was if they're TOO Genesis-like.The second one was if they're NOT EHOUGH Genesis-like.Well,the result is beyond my fears & expectations.


Soundproducing,songwriting,arrangements(especially considering guitars acoustical passages),backing vocals,tunelines...Rosetti is a perfect Gabriel,containing all Gabriel's voices from 1970 till 2005 while his own one."Better than all these citizen cains & plackbands,the Perfect Clone" - you may think after the first time you've listened to it.Yeah,the same opinion we had about Marillion in 1982-83...That's wrong,folks.The Watch is UNIQUE.


Surely,all the musicians have their own styles, while having the features borrowed from Genesis' ones.But the drummer needs separate description - IMHO,Phil Collins compsring to him is NOT drummer AT ALL!!!:-)Great drumming in anglagardic style,very complex.And the whole mood of the record is much darker than usual Genesis' one.The structures are more complex (reminding me of Italian Prog like Banco).The giutar/bass work sometimes can be even described as "brutal"!:-)Music closer to Crimso sometimes or even Anglagard!If the first 3 tracks are close to some kind of "insane scandinavian Foxtrot,Sold by the Pound by the Tricking Tail",the 4th track is as far from Genesis' standarts as it's possible.That's the Moment,when you're realising,that the Watch is the Watch - not the Genesis' clone or some kind of it.The 5th trackis a "tribute" to Genesis of 80s - very nice guitarless song(by the way,the only record on this CD which can be regarded as "Neo-prog";the others are superd Sympho).The closing epic is very dark & complex,it has made me impatiently waiting for the next CD by the Watch.

Well,spiritually these genius guys have reminded me 1982-83' Marillion,which,as you remember,was regarded in that time to be the Genesis' clone and nothing at all.Then Marillion became one of the most influental & respected prog bands(they're founders of Neo-prog,IMHO).Have you guessed what I mean?...:-)


Report this review (#61026)
Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Love it or hate it, there is something special about this album that stands out beyond others in this sub-genre of progressive rock.

Why would one hate this CD ? The most notable criticism seems to be that it smacks og GENESIS clonism. There is certainly enough to make you THINK about Genesis but is it really merely cloning? Listen very closely and you will discover things about THE WATCH that seperate them from the G men. Still... it is a very good product. Closer the golden age of prog and true to the genre's roots than your Marillions,Arenas, IQs and so forth. These guys carry power, grace and conviction in their music and they're all great musicians.

It is easy to be critical of something that harkens back to a different era and write it off as a copy. Don't make the mistake of doing that with this CD. It really is a quality work. Both sides of the scale make excellent points as the reviews go but it's all about perspective. If anything about this band appeals to you, don't let the reviews sway you one way or the other. Buy the CD and judge for yourself... you can always unload it at your local record store if you don't like it.

Report this review (#86272)
Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I discovered this band while I received a sample CD at a concert from The Musical Box (the best Genesis cover band) in February 2005. I was quite surprised by the quality of the music I heard and of course astonished by the similiraty with Genesis.

It was sufficient for me to get hold of their two albums; but you can also add the one from "The Night Watch" which was the previous band of the lead singer and that sounds exactly the same.

It is probably difficult to find a band that sounds more Genesis-like than The Watch. Of course there are other ones like Rael (!) from Argentina, Neuschwanstein from Germany or Citizen Cain from England. You may call them clones (or even clowns like some do -but which sounds quite irrespectuous to me), so what ?

Is there any problem in producing good music even if it is largely nostalgia driven ? I saw them live a few weeks ago in Belgium at the Spirit of 66 (one the best rock club in Europe - merci Francis), and they are quite respectuous for a band from the seventies as they name it (on stage they performed two songs from that band "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed" and "Can Utility and the Coastliners" which denotes sufficiently their inmense love for that band.

The opener "DNAlien" has reminiscence of "Watcher" : great mellotron intro, good bass playing and very good vocals (but this is true for the whole album). We are immediately transported in the seventies at its best. What a good number!

"The ghost And The Teenager" is less accessible, quite dark, with strange lyrics (Don't Let the Ghost Wander and Take Possession of You !) while "Heroes" is a bit weak though with a lenghtly and useless end.

"Moving Red" is in the vein of "DNAlien" but not so accomplished and melodious. The closing number "... And The winner Is..." starts quite slowly ("Trespass" atmosphere) then gets a bit like "Home by the Sea" : quite a combination!

Overall, it is a quite decent effort which is fully derivative but well crafted : three stars.

Report this review (#104693)
Posted Wednesday, December 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Simone Rossetti's first band THE NIGHT WATCH lasted for one album ("Twilight"). This is his first with his new band called THE WATCH. For me the highlight of this record is without a doubt Simone's vocals.The instrumental work and the actual songs are not as good as I heard on "Twilight" or the follow up to this album called "Vacuum".

"DNAlien" opens with the sounds of synths rising slowly out of the silence. GENESIS-like keys follow before we hear Simone's amazing voice. Some tasteful guitar 6 minutes in. "The Ghost And the Teenager" is my favourite song on this album. I like the guitar to open that comes and goes. Lots of tempo changes in this song. Nice contrast between the reserved vocals with piano to the melancholic guitar melody with the more passionate vocals.The mellotron is a nice touch.

"Heroes" has lots of mood changes and atmosphere.Theatrical vocals 3 minutes in. Beware of the mellotron floods."Moving Red" is good, but probably my least favourite along with the slow moving "Riding the Elephant". Now I know why it's slow moving. Anyway I feel they make the mistake of not taking better advantage of Simone's vocals on these two songs. "...And the Winner Is..." is the final tune, and better than the last two but still lacking. A cool drum / mellotron melody starts before the 5 minute mark.

3.5 stars.

Report this review (#125115)
Posted Friday, June 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As I got hold of Citizen Cain and the Watch, starting to analyze them a bit closer to see beyond the obvious Genesis/Gabriel connotations, it sort of dawned on me that the glorious period of Genesis can be broken down into two separate forms of adulation. First, the instrumental prowess, with Banks' shimmering keyboard work, Hackett's expressively romantic guitar stylings, Rutherford's Rickenbacker booming relentlessly and Collins' slick technical drumwork . On the other hand you have the vocal exuberance and the lyrical eloquence of Monsieur Gabriel, who can certainly weave a forceful story and entertain thoroughly but also knew when to let the music tell the tale. With the two above groups, the decision to cram as many lyrics and vocal gymnastics has masked (yeah! right) the very obvious fact that the arrangements are stuffy and less expressive, as if the spotlight was only on the microphone. The argument becomes more focused when comparing this album (and the 2 followers) to the first born project called the Night Watch, that had a definite Genesis influence but with a more jagged edge that seemed to me more daring and adventurous than this material. As I have listened to this numerously trying to like it a lot, I still cannot shake the feeling of sterility even though the overall feel is acceptable. Sounds too calculated, almost like Supper's Ready by numbers, with an overload of linear, accented, histrionic and unending vocals from Simone Rossetti that just feels unconvincing. There should have been a strong yearning to stretch out the arrangements, so as to make the whole thing breathe better and accentuate the playing that is frankly, no where remotely near the mannered extravagance of the true creators. Best example is the opener "DNAlien", a piece that has numerous great ideas but crammed indelicately into a mass of confusion (sic!) with just too much vocal business going on. When Simone moves away from the spotlight (which is not often, alas), everything just sounds more persuasive, as the pointy mellotron darts and the whopping organ slams. The chorus is actually quite recherché but the arrangement remains way too choppy, paying lip service to the inflected singing. The Hacketty solo from Valerio Vado is good but oddly not jaw-dropping. With the initially gentler "The Ghost & the Teenager", our watchmen supply a little more subtle sonic expanse, lo and behold, and the ear seems to respond much more favorably. Here, the piano serves the melody well, with vocals that now have a "raison d'être", collaborating nicely to create a unique song, with mountains of the "famed white keyboard" and huge squalls of shrieking and slippery guitar. A playful middle section even manages to honor the tradition and actually contributes to the enjoyment. This is a good memorable track, with lots of contrasts and swerves. "Heroes" is not a remake of the famed Bowie song but a rather doctrinaire rehash of the rigid "Gabenesis" formula, with Rossetti aiming at the higher registers, sweetly crooning some sallow tale. The yelping can be annoying, saved by the majestic 'tron and the spikey acoustic guitar arpeggios.The lead axe solo, ripping through the tsunami- like keyboard waves is gripping. While "Moving Red" swaggers assuredly, the overt plagiaristic tendencies start gnawing at the fraying nerves, every track seemingly overloaded with the same massive sprinklings of musical Parmigiano, thus exuding this feeling of monolithic sameness. Not that its bland, au contraire, it just comes across too strong! The diminutive "Riding the Elephant" starts off promisingly with a too brief synth-smoked dirge, cool backing vocals and some icy frills, but suddenly the chorus just plods on, actually slowing down, putting brakes to a tune that may have elicited some goose bumps. The finale sadly adds no zip to this potentially arousing menu that simply fails to excite the palate. In the end, there is enough to praise but not to salivate over. The Watch needs some rewinding or go back to the Night ! 3 ring tones.
Report this review (#170513)
Posted Saturday, May 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the third Night Watch/Watch studio album I have been able to listen to and really get my head around.

Ghost is a Genesis clone. There is no doubts about that. I think this album is much more Genesis than the other Night Watch/Watch albums. But I guess that's open for debate. The problem with Ghost is the lack of really good songs. It is only the Genesis clone sound (OK then, an updated Genesis sound) that draws me in..... and very little else. The sound is pretty much dark on this album. But it is still Genesis through and through. Songs like Heroes is excellent though. So is the closing track ......and the Winner is... But neither song is in the Genesis standard. This is the ultimate downfall of this album. Not as good as the real thing, I am afraid.

3.25 stars

Report this review (#221547)
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Watch is the physical transformation of The Nightwatch,the band lead singer Simone Rossetti found in mid-90's in Milano.The Nightwatch disbanded after Rossetti had serious problems establishing a stable line-up.By the dawn of the century Rossetti decided to make a new start under the name ''The Watch'' having guitarist Ettore Salati,bassist Marco Schembri,drummer Roberto Leoni and keyboardist Gabriele Manzini by his side.The debut of the band ''Ghost'' was released in 2001 on Italian label Lizard.

Despite the massive changes on the line-up,the sound of the band hasn't changed a bit compared to the Nightwatch'es ''Twilight''.Pure Retro-Symphonic Rock in the vein of GENESIS with mainly long tracks and constantly changing atmospheres.Rossetti continues to sound a lot like Gabriel and perform in a very theatrical way.Keyboard work is great featuring plenty of intricate mellotron,piano and organ parts,while guitarist Ettore Salati delivers some inspiring melodic plays.The compositions continue to be rich and captivating with both dark and lighter parts,grandiose atmospheres and soft interplays.However,the band still is on the way to find a more personal style and become immediately recognizable.

I found ''Ghost'' to be an excellent release for anyone searching for some good old-GENESIS sounding prog,but the album fails a bit next to the Nightwatch'es only album,lacking in the stunning melodies of ''Twilight''.However this remains a really good and recommended addition for any Retro-Prog fan of nowadays...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#492611)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars "The best album Genesis never made." Huh. Yes, there are lot of things pointing directly at Nursery Cryme/Foxtrot era, but also they miss MANY things that Genesis had at that time: memorable compositions, sense of drama that made their epic songs so powerful, sensitivity, more varied sound in music and vocals, pastoral feel, and so on.

This album (or this Italian band in general, if their all albums are like this one) offers thick and, to some degree, depressing prog rock loaded with Mellotron, heavy guitars and a *very* Peter Gabriel sounding front man Simone Rossetti who writes the music and also plays flute (where he did that idea from? Ha ha). They sound so much like (certain heavier moments of) old Genesis that it's difficult - for a person who almost grew up into prog with albums of Genesis among others - not to be intrigued by it at all. But apart from that, I wasn't very impressed. And isn't the world full of Genesis-clones? One quite similar with The Watch is CITIZEN CAIN, especially on the stuffy Gabriel-esque vocals (and DISCIPLINE, but their prior influence is VDGG instead of Genesis).

Let's face it: I probably never would have become a Genesis-listener if their music was like this and nothing else. And if I wasn't today so strongly on an ever-expanding prog journey turning every available stone on the way that seems even slightly interesting, I wouldn't really care about this music. Generally they are a bit too heavy for my taste but I must agree that they do well what they are doing. So, by all means, give it a try: many reviewers have praised this heavily.

Report this review (#512977)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not to be deterred by the end of his previous project, The Night Watch, Simone Rossetti gathered together a new lineup, who would call themselves The Watch in reference to the earlier band, and together the assembled musicians would continue their fallen predecessor's mission to revive the sound of early Genesis - with enough modern twists and turns to the compositions to create a compelling idea of what the classic-era Genesis sound might have evolved into if the band had extrapolated the direction of Selling England or Nursery Cryme forward by a few decades.

Original? Not even slightly. But like The Night Watch before them, The Watch show every evidence of really understanding the Genesis approach inside and out, and so they are able to create far more satisfying compositions than many clone bands, with Rossetti's vocals in particular absolutely nailing Peter Gabriel's early 1970s style. In fact, the major issue I have with the album is that it trades a little too hard on Rossetti's vocals, with the backing musicians not getting quite enough of a chance to shine in their own right and not really making the most of what opportunities they do have.

Report this review (#644978)
Posted Saturday, March 3, 2012 | Review Permalink

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