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The Night Watch - Twilight CD (album) cover


The Night Watch



3.59 | 58 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars The Night Watch released one single album `Twilight' back in 1997, heavily influenced by the sounds of classic 70's Genesis, 80's Marillion and even a slight touch of Van der Graaf Generator. It's a pleasing mix of sedate acoustic passages, clean electric runs, some occasional grunts of heaviness, low-key synths and gentle washes of regal Mellotron (though not as much as you'd expect from this sort of album), with some intriguingly cryptic and surreal lyrics, all topped off a with pleasing crisp production. Of course, being a Neo release, it should come as no surprise to find that vocalist Simone Rossetti peppers his delivery with all sorts of Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel mannerisms, as well as the occasional Fish and Peter Hammill moments for good measure too. Nor is it a shock that he sings in English for this release either, as many of the Italian Neo bands do, but he must especially be commended for his superb pronunciation, always clear and very easy to understand, and constantly really quite charismatic and appealing.

There are plenty of lovely moments throughout the disc, a highlight especially being Giovanni Alessi's delicate piano and placid synths, even though the keyboards are mixed a little low. It's not that the guitars or other instruments overpower them, more that the band are perfectly restrained and dignified, never resorting to technical overkill or musically showing off to compete with each-other. There's charming and gentle acoustic pieces such as `The Theme', soothing and dreamy passages on `My Ivory Soul' , and the end of `A Game of Shifting Mirrors' delivers a grand extended instrumental climax. The powerful slow-builder `The Fisherman' alternates between reflective and passionate emotions, and especially listen out for the spikey and wildly unhinged harder brooding finale of `The Black Cage' (nice murmuring bass throughout too) that expertly channels both Fish-era Marillion and Van der Graaf Generator very successfully.

The demise of the band after this one album was not a total loss, as guitarist Francesco Zago ended up in eclectic bands such Not A Good Sign, as well as Yugen with drummer Diego Donadio, and of course Simone Rossetti now fronts The Watch, one of the finest and most popular Italian Neo bands still to this day.

What holds the album back slightly is that, although every track is nicely composed and sumptuously performed, there's never a truly classic amazing moment. But, housed in a meek and simple cardboard sleeve with striking cover artwork (it would look amazing on vinyl), `Twlight' by the Night Watch will appeal to fans who already enjoy the usual Neo Prog sound, lovers of Genesis from 1970-1977, and possibly Italian band P.F.M from their more Genesis influenced `Chocolate Kings' period that utilized Acqua Fragile singer Bernado Lanzetti. There's safe and comforting 70's styled progressive rock to be found here that's not much different to what the originators offered, but the sophistication and taste on display makes it no less worthy of your attention and time.

Three and a half stars.

(Special thanks to Archives member TheH for helping track down a copy, and to ZNR Records for supplying said copy!)

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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