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The Watch Primitive album cover
3.49 | 137 ratings | 14 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sound Of Sirens (8:00)
2. The Border (4:15)
3. Two Paces To The Rear (9:08)
4. When I Was A Tree (6:00)
5. Another Life (6:10)
6. Berlin, 1936 (8:55)
7. Soaring On (4:37)

Total Time: 47:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Simone Rossetti / vocals, flute, Moog, Mellotron, Solina
- Ettore Salati / electric, acoustic & 12-string guitars, bass pedals
- Fabio Mancini / piano, organ, synth, Mellotron
- Marco Schembri / bass, electric & acoustic guitars
- Roberto Leoni / drums, percussion

- Sergio Taglioni / Moog solo (7), mixing
- Simone Stucchi / producer

Releases information

Artwork: Spencer Bowden

CD Lizard ‎- CD 0051 (2007, Italy)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE WATCH Primitive ratings distribution

(137 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

THE WATCH Primitive reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Three years have passed since the release of their "Vacuum" album but this time it's like returning back to origins, somehow. Another well crafted record by this well-known contemporary italian band and its "gabrielesque" singer Simone Rossetti, but now they reveal clearly the choice to move some steps forward (backward, to be honest) to the sound of the seventies. THE WATCH's musical patterns aren't changed but this time you will not find the typical "aggressiveness" of their previous work, the general mood of the album being builded up on a more introvert, mellow, dramatic and darker key (and even poetic).

And there lies the main difference between "Primitive" and "Vacuum". In few words, this album is structured around the more atmospheric sound of the mighty MELLOTRON for the joy and happyness of many symphomaniacs. In fact I've never listened to such a powerful mellotron drenched album from the recent years...this is really a winning choice I think, because in some parts GENESIS don't seem to be their unique reference. In particular, some of those inspired mellotron's excursions reminds me of the memorable KING CRIMSON's track "The Devil's Triangle".

That said, pick up and add some interesting (but not loud as it could/should be) moog and synth solos along with gentle touches of delicate flute and sparse acoustic guitars and here you have "Primitive", not an easy one to get into at the first listen, just needing more spins manly due to what I could call an apparent "lack of variety" in the tracks' selection. But this is a common peculiarity in their cathalogue and is only the result of the first impression.

Special mention goes to "Berlin 1936" (8,51 mns) which is about the story of the olympics games in Germany just before the second world war and, in particular has been dedicated to a "certain" US' athlete Jesse Owens. He was triumphant in the 100- meter dash, the 200-meter dash and the broad jump. He was also a key member of the 400-meter relay team that won the Gold Medal. He is one the best remembered olympic star of all times because he deliberately refused to shake the hand of Hitler when he went to greet the medalists.

Anotehr highlight is "Two Paces to the Rear" (9,10 mns) with its pleasing interplay between organ, mellotron and synth solo. Excellent! Also "Anotehr Life" (6,19 mns) brings deep emotions, at the risk of provocking true goose-bumps moments due to the powerful mellotron waves.

Probably I prefer this album than the previous one, but only more attentive listenings can tell the truth. Meantime, I think this album will be joyfully welcomed by the legions of symphonic prog fans in general and by the mellotron's aficionados in particular!

Drums are somehow subdued (don't know if it is intentional or not), so the rythmic part are not at the level of the previous work. That's why of the final rating.

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars I remember very vividly that I heard the very Peter Gabriel-like voice of Simone Rosetti for the first time in 1997: I wrote reviews for the Dutch progrock magazine iO Pages, every prog CD similar to early Genesis or Mellotron-drenched came to my way and so I received Twilight by Simone Rosetti his first band The Night Watch. And indeed, within a few seconds the music carried me away to early Genesis. Ten years later and three years after their second effort entitled Vacuum, the new album by The Watch (Simone Rosetti his new band with a totally new line-up) evokes the same atmosphere: a sound mighty close to early Genesis (Nursery Cryme-Foxtrot-era) blended with the neo-prog by early IQ but less dynamic and less elaborate. The seven pleasant and melodic compositions deliver frequent Mellotron eruptions (often the violin sound along some choir-Mellotron), passionate Peter Gabriel-like vocals and some sensitive electric guitar work. In general the atmosphere is quite dreamy and mellow, at some moments there are bombastic eruptions and accellarations. To me the music on this new The Watch album sounds as 'pastoral prog': wonderful and tastefully coloured but a bit too subdued, in some songs I couldn't keep my attention. I prefer other obviously early Genesis inspired bands like Neuschwanstein and Sensitiva Immagine. Nonetheless, I am sure that the many The Watch fans (I am not really one of them) will be pleased with this new effort, in my opinion their most mature effort after all those years. My rating: 3,5 stars.
Review by Prog-jester
5 stars Holy God, they did it again!

THE WATCH has returned with fantastic album frantically entitled “Primitive”. Pretty humorous – personally I see NOTHING primitive here! OK, for those who are new to this talented Italian band, I must say one word :”GENESIS”. If you love them, you won’t be disappointed, if not – don’t look for head-crashing noises and weird experimentations here. THE WATCH do experiments, but mostly with their own shape. If “Ghost” was rather even and “Vacuum” had both some weak and mostly genius moments, “Primitive” is a step to more “calm” and even pastoral areas. It’s like “Trespass” for GENESIS, which doesn’t mean it’s a step back for a band which have already released their “Foxtrot”(“Ghost”) and “Selling England…”(“Vacuum”), it’s just very acoustic, mild and mellotronic record. First of all, tron-maniacs: it’s a Must! Probably the best Tron- oriented album from 2007 so far. Second: THE WATCH haven’t lost their powers and energy – tracks like “Two Paces to the Rear” (a serious candidate to move “Damage Mode” from “My Fave THE WATCH Track” position!) and the opener “Sounds of Sirens” have immense drive and groove. Third: Simone still manages to create Prog songs, and I must admit, he’s as good as my beloved Matthew Parmenter in that case! His manner is quite different from Matthew’s one, and this is another ace of the band. Songs like “Soaring On”, “The Border”, “Another Life” are would-be hits for any radio, even mainstream one, but they still have this THE WATCH flavour; also they’re Prog (while previous “radio” songs by THE WATCH like “Riding the Elephant” were quite simple).

Should I say recommended? This is just flawlessly spectacular! Modern approach united with vintage mellotron and Hackettish guitar’s sounds creates unique WATCHy manner, still balancing between classical GENESIS style and their own face…this is a face behind the mask, and you must look deeper, my beloved listener. Enjoy!

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I have already expressed my opinion about "The Watch" and "The Night Watch" before this. Actually, I pretty much like these bands which are Simone's projects.

It will fully brings you back to the early seventies-Genesis with loads of mellotron (and I am a 'tron maniac, so...) and the voice of course...I was a bit disappointed with the opener, but the last three minutes of it are extremely pleasant to my (old) ears. I guess you can call it my "Fountain Of Youth" (but not the Salmacis's one...).

Do you fancy some "Trespass" flavour ? Have a listen to "The Border". It is not the greatest song here; just a gentle break.

I guess that any of you would like to hear a great song that will remind you "Firth...", right ? Well, you' ll get here as well : "Two Paces To The Rear" is here to transport you in time and revive an almost similar experience; because we should never forget that "The Watch" has a model. And that the model is just the greatest prog band that has ever existed (but this is only my humble and HONEST opinion) and yes, I like very much some tribute bands ("The Musical Box" for instance which I will go and see soon in Amsterdam and Duisbourg for the ninth time or so) or bands fully in-line with the great Genesis.

"Two Paces..." is one of my fave from this band; really great and by far the most interesting one here.

I can't help. It is deeply written into my genes. When the music is good, vocals very pleasant (and rather intricated); I just fall apart (and I mean it). And I just don't give a damn about the purists who are yelling at such "cloning" efforts.

Of course, we'll come back to earth with a song like "When I was A Tree" : not exceptional at all. Average, I should say. Some more grandeur will be reached with "Berlin 36" (especially the lyrics about Jessie Owens) while the closing number "Soring On" reminds me of "Lamia". A good song to close a good album.

Still, I belive that "Vacuum" was substantially better. Three stars for this one.

Review by Tapfret
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Selling Italy by the Pomodoro

Research, must do more research before buyuing albums online.

This album was not only disappointing because I thought I was getting another can't miss Italian Progressive rock band, it was just flat annoying in any context. Let's not take away from the bands musical ability, they are good musicians. The mellotron sounds beautiful as always. Thats all fine and dandy. But when I buy Italian, i want to hear Italian. Not a caricature of Peter Gabriel backed by a garbled series of Genesis-esque 'parts', with musical non-sequitors and impenetrable platitudes.

I felt as if I had been to harsh after the first listen, but each susequent listen was less pleasurable. This band has the potential to be great. You know what would make them great? Just be a Genesis cover band. At least then they could be a Genesis clone and concentrate on doing that without the distraction of trying to write music. I am certainly not against emulating influences, even Genesis. I really enjoy Babylon's shot at it. But 'Primitive' is just to over the top in its quasi-cloning.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By mid-00's The Watch appeared like being the hottest of names among new Prog bands.They had only released two studio albums, but a wide set of live booklets had also appeared in the market like if they where the new Genesis or Yes.In 2006 the first official live was launched by the band as a fan-club release and even this one was named ''Live bootleg'', it also contained one track never to become part of The Watch'es official studiography, ''Doctor mystere''.In 2007 they released their third work ''Primitive'' with the neverending support of Lizard Records.

Expect no other than GENESIS-inspired Symphonic Rock with an electroacoustic domination and plenty of Mellotron strings and choirs on this one.They haven't moved an inch from this particular style and they started to be accused as a non-developing group with no other intention than to reincarnate the sound of GENESIS.On the other hand ''Primitive'' offered yet another list of great songs/arrangements with a vintage atmosphere few bands could reproduce and their music was always executed without any serious flaws or overblown pomposity.The deep bass lines, soaring keyboards and muddy guitars are somewhat reminiscent of Norwegians FRUITCAKE, but the omnipresent Mellotron and Gabriel-esque vocals of Simone Rossetti are the straight links to GENESIS' old sound and the reason the band sounded so unique in its own way.While the tracks are not that strong as on ''Vacuum'', there are some excellent cuts in here, like the opening ''Sound of sirens'', highlighted by the excellent Moog synth leaks or the following dramatic, lyrical and grandiose ''The border''.''Two paces to the rear'' is another great piece of art with temperamental moods, switching from dreamy moods to big orchestral atmospheres all the time plus the farewell ''Soaring on'' is propably the best dream ballad ever recorded by the band.

The Watch may circulate the old Genesis fundamentals, but noone can accuse them for not doing it good.This is some nice Retro Symphonic Rock with tons of analog keyboards and poetic moments, no less than strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars My introduction with this band dated back the time when their name was The Night Watch where the debut album was 'Twilight'. My first impression was that this band is truly a Genesis Gabriel era kind of music. I also enjoyed their previous album 'Vacuum' which was still consistent with their style. This latest album 'Primitive' is in similar vein with its predecessors. As The Watch composed their music with a style that is basically the same with Genesis Gabriel era, my reference point for enjoying the music is using Genesis Foxtrot, Selling England by The Pound, Trespass, Nursery Cryme, and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Of course I cannot compare The Watch directly with Genesis, the legendary band because the time zone is different and Genesis have changed their style of music once they released 'A Trick of The Tail'. That's something that I really can not put as reference. Why? Because the approach that The Watch has taken in their music making was basically based on two critical points: 1.) from the vocal perspective where the voice range and style of Simone Rosetti has been made 'closely' similar to Peter Gabriel; 2.) the mellotron-drenched composition.

Let's have a look on these two points.

Does Simone voice matches Gabriel?

I can say straight to the point: no. Why? Because this is Allah swt (God) given talent that is very specific, very peculiar to an individual characteristic. There is no such voice that is the same. That's why Allah swt is GREAT. There is no true greatness in the whole universe than those coming from Allah swt. That's why whenever a lead vocal job of particular band leave, it's very difficult to find replacement. Look at Queen who has been struggling to find the best vocalist that matches Mercury. It's a tough job and it could be a never ending task.

However, Simone has tried his best to emulate what Gabriel has done in terms of timbre and pitch of his voice. He has done an excellent job on this because he emulates quite well eevn though not truly similar. One thing that Simone can emulate is the combined pitches representing high and low register notes that demands accentuation like Gabriel sung 'Can Utility and The Coastliners' or 'Supper's Ready'. Simone singing tends to be flat throughout a song with minimum high and low register notes, and there barely no accentuation.

Does the mellotron sound makes it Genesis, really?

If you talk Genesis in 'Watcher of The Sky' term, I can assure you the answer is Yes. The problem is, not all Genesis Gabriel era are like 'Watcher' in style. The whole album of 'Primitive' have been composed with 'Watcher' style. What are the characteristic of Watcher, anyway? It relies heavily on mellotron as main rhythm section of the music. Well, you may say that there is another thing with Watcher, i.e. the dynamic bass-playing by Mike Rutherford. This bass-playing style here are not available with The Watch.

All songs in this album are heavily dominated by mellotron sounds that I can feel getting bored when it reaches the half portion of the CD. But for those of you who love the sound of mellotron, well yeah .. this is for you! In fact, I heard that the mellotron used by The Watch is the one made in seventies. That's why you can find the vintage prog sound here.

One thing I notice here is the lacking use of Hackettian guitar style especially the 'howling' guitar solo. It seems like Ettori Salati does not dare to play guitar solo or the composition does not allow the guitar solo takes its part. This is one thing that lacks also in neo-prog music because usually guitar solo takes larger portion as the case with keyboard. So, do not expect the catchy interlude in 'Firth of Fifth' is happening here ? you won't get it!

So, where do I stand with this album?

I still consider the music is excellent, despite all of my above comments. Why? It's simple? because I have been emotionally attached to the kind of music Genesis played during the Gabriel era. I grew up with 'Nursery Cryme', 'Foxtrot', 'Selling England by The Pound' .. so it's hard for me to deny that I do love this kind of music. But I am not in a position to compare with Genesis Gabriel era. Maybe .. maybe .. if Genesis still alive with Gabriel as front-man, this kind of music is what they make without Steve Hackett. I do enjoy this album more than I enjoy Unifaun.

My best track from this album is the third one 'Two Paces to the Rear' (9:08) which to me this song is structurally similar with Genesis 'Firth of Fifth' without classical notes at intro played by Tony Bank's grand piano. Another without is the catchy interlude using flute, keyboard and guitar solo. So, if you take Seconds Out version of 'Firth of Fifth' you can hear this song by The Watch is quite similar structurally and style-wise. I don't say that The Watch is doing plagiarism because it's different, notes-wise. That's why I really enjoy this track despite the lacking of grand piano and catchy interlude.

Other tracks are excellent as well. I can hear something that reminds me to Kayak "Anne" when I heard the intro part of fourth track 'When I was a Tree' (6:00). Not a big deal, just the keyboard intro that is similar. I also here the keyboard sound of Genesis' 'The Fountain of Salmacis'. Overall, this album is recommended for those who like symphonic music with mellotron-drenched compositions. This album is consistent with their previous music style in 'Vacuum' album. My suggestion for the band for their future releases are not to focus only on mellotron and organ with long sustain style but they also explores guitar solo, which is currently sounds like a burden. Also, they need to explore keyboard solo like those that Genesis played in 'In The Cage' or 'Riding The Scree'. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild ? GW

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars THE WATCH's previous album "Vacuum" is right near the top of my Neo-Prog list. It's just one of those albums that pushes all the right buttons for me. I had high hopes for "Primitive" their follow-up, but for me it's a couple of steps back and I would rate it pretty even with their debut "Ghost".

"Sound Of Sirens" kicks in before a minute with lots of mellotron and vocals as the drums pound. It settles with piano around 4 minutes then kicks back in a minute later. Lots of atmosphere 6 1/2 minutes in as it calms right down right to the end. "The Border" opens with reserved vocals and keys. It picks up before 1 1/2 minutes as drums and bass join in. It settles again as contrasts continue. "Two Paces To The Rear" kicks in right away. It's mid paced with vocals. It settles down after a minute then picks back up as the contrasts continue.

"When I Was A Tree" is catchy with pulsating piano that comes and goes. It picks up before 3 1/2 minutes. Lots of organ late. "Another Life" has this steady beat with vocals. It kicks in with mellotron and drums 3 minutes in. Quite powerful actually. Guitar 5 1/2 minutes in. "Berlin,1936" is mellow early with fragile vocals. It kicks in and picks up a minute in. Nice. The tempo continues to shift. Great sound before 6 1/2 minutes with organ. "Soaring On" is one of my favourites. Interesting that Cristiano Roversi (MOONGARDEN) along with Simone created the music for it. There is synth orchestration on this one too. This one just clicks with me emotionally. It turns dark 3 minutes in.

So a disappointment for sure but "Vacuum" was such a great album that I won't give on them pulling off another one like that in the future. 3.5 stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The Watch (and predecessor band The Night Watch) have a sound which is essentially built around Simone Rossetti's uncanny ability to mimic Peter Gabriel's style in Genesis. A lazier band would leave it at that, knocking off third-rate Genesisalike songs for Simone to sing on, but the band have never been content to do that. As with the preceding Vacuum, Primitive takes the Genesis sound forward in a startling different direction from the one the band took - it's as though after Nursery Cryme the band started dabbling with space rock and began incorporating a range of more cutting-edge synthesisers into their sound as opposed to the tried and trusted keyboards they stuck with.

It might be a minor difference in approach, but it adds an intriguing twist to the Genesis sound which means that Primitive, like Vacuum, feels like it's doing a little more than merely wallowing in nostalgia.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Genesis is dead.... long live The Watch ! I think this review and The Watch can best be described in my statement over. The music on this album is very much in the landscape of the Peter Gabriel era GENESIS. Maybe more Selling England than Trespass. At the same time; The Watch has also introd ... (read more)

Report this review (#214630) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, May 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

1 stars this is my first rewiew as i read this forum since 3 years ago, and i have to begin with a negative rewiew that permit me to move a criticism that is general to many of the rewiews: the scores are averagely too high! In this particular case i have listened to this CD hoping: ok, something new a ... (read more)

Report this review (#145040) | Posted by babbus61 | Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Watch, with Rosseti having a voice really similar to Peter Gabriel, grabbed the interest of a lot of early Genesis fans, including my own. The first two albums Ghost and Vacuum, were surprising in the way they showed us great musicianship, and that they could show that Genesis feel we were mis ... (read more)

Report this review (#131305) | Posted by LeInsomniac | Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Watch's 4th studio-album already, after the strong effort 'Vacuum' (2004), this album contains many mellotron-passages and of course, the Genesis-sound is here again. Beautiful! Maybe the melodies are a little less exciting than on 'Vacuum' but this album is still worth buying, for sure. ... (read more)

Report this review (#126132) | Posted by Robin | Sunday, June 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After "ghost" and "vacuum", this is a really great album as well. Some people are still refering to Marillion and of course Genesis. I don't care ... The voice is like Gabriel, the mellotrons, all the sound is like Genesis ..... but is is still GREAT music. This is my first review, but I thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#122588) | Posted by Janux | Thursday, May 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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