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VACUUM

The Watch

Neo-Prog


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Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I've granted my precious 5 stars to nine albums so far and was starting to doubt of ever finding that elusive number 10. Well, there must be a prog god somewhere for I've found it right here.

Although I didn't have access to either the album booklet, the credits nor the lyrics, I've had the privilege of hearing the music of "Vacuum" over the last week or so and I can assure you of one thing: it is a work of stellar magnitude. It is altogether exhilirating, disturbing, entrancing, profoundly moving and symphonic to the core.

First, let's get some things straight: vocalist Simone Rossetti (who is responsible for most of the work such as concept, music, lyrics, arrangements) does sound like young Peter Gabriel incarnate; Sergio Taglioni's keyboard solos do feel like they came straight out of Tony Bank's head; and some of Ettore Salati's lead guitar passages do sound like Steve Hackett is plucking away. But don't go thinking that The WATCH are yet another god-forsaken "G" clone. Rossetti is an extremely talented composer who uses the early GENESIS atmosphere as a filter to express his own art. The musical themes and phrases on this album are so rich and varied, only in jazz (and from a handful of prog acts) have I heard such an array of strange musical phrases so harmoniously brought together.

The album opens with the minimalistic "Hills", featuring Rossetti's gentle voice floating over piano notes and a little synth in the background - a fitting sleeper for the 'bomb' that immediately follows.

"Damage Mode" alternately reminds me of the title track from "The Lamb", "One for the Vine" and "The Cinema Show", yet it is so uniquely WATCH: a perfect blend of gorgeous melodic prog and muscle-tight rock that can't be compared to anything. The quiet acoustic guitar passages (reminiscent of Anthony Phillips') combined with Rossetti's child-like voice are so poignant they'll make your heart ache. That is, until the tune explodes with biting guitars riffs, crunching bass and drums, buckets of soaring keyboards and vocals so gripping they'll tear you apart. The last time I remember having such a rush was when I first heard "The Cinema Show" ("take a little trip back with Father Tiresias" indeed). To top it all, the track contains a killer banksian solo by keyboardist Taglioni that will have every GENESIS fan drooling.

"Wonderland" is an intimate tune that weaves its course in a sweet, melancholy way through an exquisite guitar solo by Ettore Salati. In the manner of "Mad Man Moon", it cooks slowly then becomes larger than life. One of the most exquisite and powerful tracks of the album.

The early cacophony/buffonery of "Shining Bald Heads" winks at you with airs of a certain "Harold the Barrel". This is perhaps the least romantic (read 'Italian') track of the lot but not to worry: Rossetti's lyricism always seems to get the better of him and before long, you'll be treated to some exquisite symphonic flights once more.

"Out of the Land" opens on a quiet, reflective theme resembling "The Lamia", with delicate acoustic guitar notes that mimick the familiar piano from the album "The Lamb". After a brief hyatus, the bass, organ and percussion roll in and... wham! The doors fly wide open to reveal yet another tapestry of majestic, spine-tingling keyboard passages.

With heavy bass and organ throbs à la Keith Emerson, "Goddess" begins as a head banger but soon takes flight with rolling drums, a wonderful chorus and an incredible array of new colourful themes and time signatures. With cahotic passages not unlike the intro to "Watcher of the Skies", it alternately thrusts the listener into a rhythmic frenzy then wraps him up with superb, mellow symphonic passages - a pattern I seem to regognize more and more as I keep listening to the album. Gosh, this track is so jam-packed with musical themes, I've known entire albums that boasted less than you'll find on this single track.

"Deeper Still" is yet another exquisite piece of sweet melancholy where Rossetti's haunting, layered vocals gently hover over a delicate acoustic theme. (Are you taking notes, Mr. Rutherford?)

The closing title track, "Vacuum, is the darkest and most poignant of the lot. It is so powerful it's almost frightening. The violence of certain passages (including Rossetti's vocals), the throbbing bass, the foreboding drums, the menacing organ and the eerie synths alongwith the portentous fury of the theme is so deeply troubling it caught me unawares - I honestly didn't expect such disturbing moments from Rossetti's pen. Let's just say that music is sometimes the best medium for expressing certain kinds of emotions and that Rossetti took full advantage of it. His vocal performance is simply staggering on this one. This is a very, very powerful stuff that hits you smack in the gut - you'll excuse my vocabulary but I can't think of a gentler way of describing what this music does to me. The track also showcases the finest moments from everyone involved and is proof that Rossetti is indeed in the hands of a highly capable crew.

Whether you are familiar with THE WATCH's material or not, you can't help but be impressed by the outstanding penmanship, the charismatic delivery and the fine musicianship displayed on "Vacuum". There is not one wasted note, not one dead moment on the entire album. "Vacuum": a true jewel of progressive sound and lyricism, an album you'll be rediscovering every time you hear it.

GENESIS is dead: long live THE WATCH !!!

P.S. I realize it is not customary to grant 5 stars to so-called 'derivative' material. However, "Vacuum" goes way beyond this appellation and consequently, I honesty cannot grant it any less than a perfect note.

Report this review (#32921)
Posted Wednesday, September 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Again, here is the "New Genesis". It's like after the Beatles split up, everybody was waiting for the New Fabs... Okay, just like Neuschwanstein or Kyrie Eleison or whatever band that's either heavely influenced by or try to capture the sound of the Real McCoy, these blokes did a very nice job. But talking about outtakes between Nursery Cryme and Selling England? Well it's to much honour I think IMHO. The element I miss in all those Genesis-type bands is someone who sits on the drum stool and plays like old Peelip! Analysing Genesis' ancient music comes to a conclusion that the drums were more groovy, more melodic and above all (will all respect for the other drummers) original. That said I give this album still 4 stars. Because it's f****ing good to listen to!
Report this review (#32923)
Posted Thursday, November 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'GENESIS was my first love and it will be my last'. This is a kind of personal slogan from me because in my opinion their music in the 'HACKETT-line-up' is the most elaborated, magical, compelling and unique symphonic rock ever made. Many musicians agreed and released very GENESIS-inspired album to show their adoration, from German NEUSCHWANSTEIN and Italian SENSITIVA IMMAGINE to Japanese SHINGETSU and Dutch PLACKBAND. An acclaimed new GENESIS-inspired band is The WATCH from Italy, their brand new CD "Vacuum" is a warm and honest tribute to them: the same twanging guitars, organ- runs, Mellotron waves and the very GABRIEL-esque vocals. It sounds pleasant with some great bombastic outbursts but I miss good ideas, the drumming is a bit too tight and the vocals tend to sound a bit boring at some moments. They have gained a 'cult-following' in Holland, their sales are good but I cannot trace much progress since I saw them a few years ago. Don't get me wrong: they deliver fine prog rock but to me their music doesn't generate the excitement according to the worldwide 'euphoric' reviews.
Report this review (#32924)
Posted Saturday, November 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars An absolute masterpiece of prog! cant stop listening to it!! it is all i love in a prog band. Ok it's sound exactly like Gabriel-era Genesis but i think the guys should be proud of it!! VERY VERY PROUD!!!!! Vacuum will stay in my Top 10 for a long time. Highly recommended!! Top notch prog. cant say nothing else. Happy new year to all you proggers!!!
Report this review (#32927)
Posted Monday, January 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I had heard this CD described as the best album Genesis never did. I won't quite go that far, but clearly classic Genesis is their first and biggest influence. Simone Rosetti sounds uncanily like a young Peter Gabriel. Some of Sttore Salati's guitar rifts sound like they came straight from Steve Hackett. The quality of the playing is outstanding. They don't sound exactly like classic Genesis to me, maybe more of how Genesis might have evolved had they not lost Gabriel and Hackett, and didn't evolve into more of a pop-commercial band. Also, the music of the Watch is not as melodious as that of Genesis. Wonderland, Shining Bald Heads, Out of the Land and The Vacuum are all excellent songs. The entire CD is extremely good and is very enjoyable. I would highly rcommend it, and any fan of classic Genesis will truly enjoy this CD. However,even though it is very enjoyable, the music is not original enough, and is too Genesis derivative to give it 5 stars.
Report this review (#32928)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Clayreon
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It's probably never been researched, but it is likely that GENESIS is the most imitated band in the prog world. PLACKBAND, NEUSCHWANSTEIN, THE MUSICAL BOX and THE GENESIS PROJECT are just a few groups that name Peter Gabriel and company as their biggest role model. You have to be good to be original in that way. The early material from the band THE WATCH ('Ghost' from 2001 and 'Twilight' and 'Night Watch' from 1997) was not very convincing. The vocals, especially, didn't make a big impression on me. But with this latest CD, they solved this problem. The vocals of Rossetti are better than ever and can compete with Gabriel.

What is very noticeable on 'Vacuum' is the over abundance of keyboards: the mellotrons, Hammonds and other pianos create a whirlwind of sounds, unfortunately at the expense of the guitar. You can hear Ettore here and there and he can really play some fantastic Hackett solos, but there could've been more.

The somber piano playing on the laid back song, "Hills", gives you the feeling that you're listening to a youthful Peter Gabriel. The color of the voice even sounds like his did. The music goes full throttle in "Damage Mode". You feel like you're completely in the Lamb zone with the use of melodious prog interchanged with heavy parts. Even more, you're treated to Rossetti's flute playing. The mellotron sounds are assured to give goose bumps to every prog fan and there's a Hackett style intermezzo at the end as dessert.

What makes 'Vacuum' better than the first three CDs is that THE WATCH has now found a balance between the complexity of the music and the recognizeability of a song. The track "Wonderland" has an incredibly catchy chorus. But there are consequences for the length of some of the songs. There seems to be no place on this album for epics such as "Firth of Fifth". "Shining Bald Heads" is the outsider. Apart from the usual influences, other references come to mind, such as KAYAK, 10CC (even ACT. listen to the piano) and E,L & P. It's a very interesting song and proves that the band can branch out into other directions.

"Out of the Lands" starts off with very calm singing accompanied by an acoustic guitar and a synthesizer. Soon after that, the other instruments chime in and it then becomes the usual Watch type song. There's heavy drumming throughout the whole album. The sensitive play on the hi-hats and cymbals is fantastic.

"Goddess" is a relatively short song. It has lots of tempo changes, twists and turns, a memorable chorus and excellent keyboard playing (Wakeman, Emerson). This song is one of the high points on 'Vacuum'.

The melodramatic "Deeper Still" is followed by the title track. It's a perfect synthesis of all what has been mentioned above. THE WATCH still follows the source of their inspiration, but it's certainly not a copy of it. This album exhausts its strength through the use of keyboards and vocals. They definitely demanded their leading role on the CD. I bet that the other instruments will be spotlighted on the next album and that The Watch will gain its own reputation. This album is a pleasant surprise for me.

Review by Claude 'Clayreon' Bosschem

Report this review (#32929)
Posted Friday, February 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rock has always been a musical form of inspiration and imitation. The Beatles, Stones, and The Beach Boys all borrowed from the founding fathers of rock (Chuck Berry, Little Richard). The Byrds imitated Bob Dylan (who was highly influenced by Woodie Guthrie). In the 70's the masters of hard rock/heavy metal all borrowed liberally from the old blues guys. Big Star, a 70's icon was influenced by the Beatles. In the 80's R.E.M., one of America's most respected bands, took The Byrds guitar sound to form a music of their own. Marillion, Pendragon, Pallas, and IQ were all influenced by Genesis. The delightful "jam bands" of the 90's borrowed from the Grateful Dead and The Allman Bros. As you can plainly see rock has always built upon it heratige. That's why I can't undrestand progressive rock fans vehemenently complaining when a band chooses to imitate or be influenced by another (usually 70's era) band. Case in point is The Watch. Sure they borrow from early Genesis, but they take their influences and build them into a highly original and extremely wonderful sound.They have exactly what is needed to be a great progressive rock band:soaring melodies, emotional vocals, classically inspired keyboards, complex rhythms, and state of the art production. Give these guys a chance; already they are beginning to outgrow their influences and are on the way to their own sound. Remember, it may be progressive but it's still rock.
Report this review (#32930)
Posted Monday, March 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you like Gabriel-era Genesis, this album is for you. Lots of mellotron and organs, tasteful guitars, and terrific & tricky time signatures and tempo changes. And while so many newer prog bands suffer from weak singing, The Watch features awesome lead vocals that are indeed very similar to Peter Gabriel. As an added plus, compared with early Genesis, the music is much better recorded, and it packs a satisfying dramatic punch - the music here leans toward the heavier side. The best music of its kind since Citizen Cains' "Somewhere But Yesterday," also available on Amaazon. Highly recommended.
Report this review (#32932)
Posted Sunday, May 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars During the years when I enjoyed Genesis in the seventies I got no problem when Peter Gabriel left the band (don't get me wrong, I love Gabriel's theatrical singing style and voice quality) and Genesis continued with excellent follow-up "A Trick of The Tail" with Phil Collins as front man. I did get problem only when Hackett left the band after "Wind and Wuthering" because the music direction changed. So, basically I love Genesis because of the music especially those with Hackett as guitarist and contributing songwriter in the band. When I knew bands like Citizen Cain and The Night Watch in the nineties I was so happy that the early Genesis sounds were still alive in the nineties. Simone ROSSETTI, the front man and excellent flautist of The Night Watch, went on with his new band The WATCH. What's unique here that the vocal quality of Simone Rossetti is very similar to Peter Gabriel and is better than Cyrus of Citizen Cain.

This album gives me full satisfaction as I have been so longing for the music which is similar to early Genesis. In a nutshell, "Vacuum" is what the Genesis would sound like if Hackett did not quit and Gabriel rejoined the band. It's like the follow-up album of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" released right after "Wind and Wuthering". What a great idea, isn't it?

Let's have a look the album in detail .

Hills (1:26) opens the album featuring accentuated vocal by Rossetti accompanied with electric piano work by Gabriele Manzini augmented with soft howling guitar by Ettore Salati in the vein of Hackett. Even though this short prolog track is performed without drum and bass but it's energetic in style and it sets the whole atmosphere of the album. Great opening. This track continues seamlessly to the next track.

Damage Mode (7:17) starts off with a full blast of the music with all players contribute with their own instruments. The opening part is really upbeat with riffs and dominated by powerful mellotron sounds. The music turns into slower beat with intersecting powerful vocal and combined again with the mellotron work. Keyboard then follows up with a background music to form a symphonic nuance. Rossetti performs his flute work on quiet passage with guitar fills reminiscent of early Genesis music. The ending part is really amazing: mellotron and electric guitar solo give a stunning sound. It's a wonderful and masterpiece composition.

Wonderland (7:05) begins with powerful Gabriel-like voice by Rossetti "Bright lights and street signs wonderland ." accompanied with soft keyboard sound in slow tempo. The music moves steadily into an uplifting mood and I especially like when Rossetti sings "Chain reaction on the razor's edge ..". The guitar work this time is played with different style when the vocalist sings but it returns back to typical Genesis guitar fills especially during quiet passages with vocal. Keyboard and mellotron give symphonic nuance.

Shining Bald Heads (5:55) brings the music in medium/fast tempo with dynamic singing style combined with rhythm section comprising keyboard and guitar. Some segments of keyboard section during singing verse sounds like "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (the song, not the album). The band puts a variation especially during piano and vocal line that reminds me to Supertramp's style. The song is rich in style and composition.

Out Of The Land (6:05) starts with a wonderful combination of voice line and guitar fills augmented with a very soft mellotron sound, continued with keyboard work. Halfway through the band performs this track in mellow style and in the middle of the track the music moves in crescendo and brings the music into a faster upbeat tempo with soaring keyboard, drums and electric guitar solo.

Goddess (5:48) is an upbeat track with riffs and organ-drone work. The composition reminds me to the music style of Genesis "Nursery Cryme". It has inventive keyboard work combined with guitar and dynamic drumming. The ending part of this track sees beautiful arrangement integrating the key instruments: keyboards, guitar with vocal.

Deeper Still (3:24) is a mellow track where some voice lines are done with distant vocal style. Having enjoyed with some complex arrangements, it's good having this track featured at seventh track as it provides a musical break. Not only that providing musical break, this song is melodic and for my personal taste it's much better than having "More Fool Me" in Genesis' "Selling England By The Pound" album.

The Vacuum (10:59) concludes the album with multi-mood song combining mellow style at the opening accompanied with guitar fills and segments with upbeat / high register notes. The music immediately moves into higher register notes through the voice of Rossetti. This last song contains excellent composition which integrates soaring organ sounds, dynamic drum and powerful vocal. The music turns into fast tempo with long sustain keyboard followed with wonderful guitar work and dazzling drum by Roberto Leoni. Vocal singing style seems like a theatrical acts with excellent punctuation strengthen with inventive organ / keyboard work.

Conclusion

What can I say about this album? Wonderful. Definitely, the band is heavily influenced by early Genesis - plus a bit influence from King Crimson - music with lead singer voice quality and power that are identical with Peter Gabriel. But The Watch music is not something called as derivative as their compositions are mostly different and not ripping off from the older band; especially when I look the album track by track and segment by segment. Some compositions may have similar structures but the overall composition is different. For me personally, I'm glad that now I have at least three bands which still carry the torch of early Genesis sound: Citizen Cain especially through "Somewhere But Yesterday" album, Hamadryad especially the new album "Safe in Conformity". How can I recommend you, my dear readers of this site? It depends. If you are early Genesis music lovers and you don't mind other band carries the torch of early Genesis music style then this album is really for you. Otherwise, you might say that this is a rip off. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#43392)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a fun, fun album. To say that THE WATCH are an early GENESIS clone would be completely unfair. To say they might make a heck of a tribute band well... Though the style is very similar to PETER GABRIEL's genesis ( due largely to Simone Rossetti's uncanny vocal style) these Italians show more power than did the " G-men" back in the day.

DAMAGE MODE is an excellent power prog track and is as haunting as it is melodic. Notice the homage to STEVE HACKETT in the guitar work. This album almost makes me think about what GENESIS might sound like had the best lineup stayed together and were still recording.It is lush with floating keyboards, sonic guitar playing, adventurous and powerful drumming and killer bass work. There is so much of both eras in this CD but it still, at the end of the day, belongs to THE WATCH. They draw from the masters without tipping over into the dark greyness of " cloning". I will say that the one thing that did bug me about this album was Simone's apparent difficulty with certain english pronunciations. At times it was very difficult to (thank god for lyric booklets) understand what he was singing.

I would strongly recommend this CD to anyone who likes above average progressive rock music, a must have.

Report this review (#82768)
Posted Wednesday, July 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I visited a concert of the Genesis cover-band 'The Musical Box', someone was spreading demo cd's of this band, containig a track from their 1st record 'Ghost' and 1 from this album. The cover-text said something like 'this could be somehow a lost genesis-album from the mid-seventies'. In a way, that's correct. The sound of the band is very close to the sound Genesis had in that time. Although none of the songs are as quality-rich and colourful as the Genesis-tracks from the 70's. I think that's a good thing, because it would become too much of a copy. This Italian band also has her own ideas. I'm not too impressed about the melodies they are using, but I truly like every song on the album. My favorite is 'Shining Bald Heads.' The chorus of the song sounds very much like the chorus of 'Zanzibar' by Billy Joel. 'Deeper Still', a shorter song, has the best melody in my opinion. On some prog-sites I read this band isn't as strong live as they are on record, but I don't mind. This is a good prog-album, and if you like 70's sympho, this should be no problem to listen to. However.. I hope the next album of this promising band will be more variated in melodies and rythms. This is not the most essential album, but surely it's a very good addition to a prog-music collection. Let's say I will give it 3,75 stars.
Report this review (#84896)
Posted Thursday, July 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Piano, mellotron, organ, moogs and synths.

According to the "symphonic prog appreciation thread"'s boys (someone told me I'm one of them, what a honour! ;) these should be the ingredients for any appreciable record. And so this is it with this strong italian release from the recent years (2004). The Watch have all of them well mixed with a Genesis' evident vein. The singer himslef, Simone Rossetti, with his voice comes comes very close to Peter Gabriel. This is not something to blame them for, after all. It should be quite normal for any respectable neo-prog band, I think. A sub- genre I'm not very familiar with, even though it's not far from my tastes towards classic symphonic prog. And so what's the matter for not giving Vacuum the biggest prize of five stars?

The first half of the album is impressive, hands off. Something you can love at the very first listen, a convincing work, well balanced in each of its parts. The bands' members really have the time to express their skills and capabilities all is where it should be. "Damage Mode", "Wonderland" and "Shining Bald Heads" (yep, the album is completely sung in english) are the most vafourite of mine and worth to be remembered with special mention. The sound is deep and gentle at the same time, never too serious, never too breezy. Dreamy sometimes.

Sadly what the album lacks of is somehow in variety. In fact the second half (after have already listened to the first, anyway) appears to be based on the very same formula, at the risk of becoming a little bit boring and repetitive. People generally don't care too much and maybe so should I.

Report this review (#89449)
Posted Monday, September 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 stars.This is a magical album for me, pushing the right buttons most of the time. Yes this sounds like an updated (Gabriel era) GENESIS album.The focus is on the absolutely amazing vocals of Simone, and also the hammond organ, keyboards and mellotron. I really enjoyed reading Hibou's review because I can tell she feels the same emotion as I do when listening to this album. In fact i'd go as far to say this is in my top ten of Neo-Prog records of all time.

"Hills" features reserved vocals and keys throughout.This is really a short intro track. "Damage Mode" is uptempo with vocals but there is some good contrasts here with the calm sections.This just sounds really good. I like when it settles right down with flute, vocals and keys after 3 minutes.Then at about the five minute mark a flood of mellotron washes in. Nice. "Wonderland" is one of my favourites with hammond organ and a rare guitar solo. It's so uplifting when it kicks in around 1 1/2 minutes.The mellotron is so majestic during the calm 4 1/2 minutes in.

"Shining Bald Heads" has these pulsating synths as drums come and go. Vocals before a minute. Excellent sound. A calm before 3 minutes with Gabriel-like vocals then it kicks back in. Themes are repeated. "Out Of The Land" is another great tune. It makes me emotional for some reason, I don't know, but it's wondrous. Very GENESIS-like and delicate. "Goddess" has some energy right out of the gate. I like the drum/synth sectuion 3 1/2 minutes in and the mellotron a minute later. "Deeper Still" is a mellotron laden beauty. Keys to open and fragile vocals. It's simply gorgeous when it kicks in after a minute. Love the synths after 2 1/2 minutes to end it. "The Vacuum" features moog, mellotron and hammond organ, what else could a person ask for ? I have to emphasize again, what a fantastic singer this man is. Another GENESIS-like tune.

This is a must have for Neo-Prog fans out there.

Report this review (#95712)
Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Who does not like Genesis?

"Come on, a show of hands?! Anybody? You in the back? Don't be shy!"

Ha. Just as I thought: everybody likes Genesis, especially the Gabriel years. Argn, why did they had to break up? Arrrgn, indeed. But for those early years afficionados, there's a lot of spoofs around.

Early Marillion, Neuwashtein, Carptree, Grand Stand and perhaps the closest to them: The Watch. Many reviewed this album and I had to find out if they were right: is this worth the try?

Yes, but not for everybody. Die-hard fans of Gensis will find the cloning above average, because when you do a spoof, it has to be right done to avoid tackyness. The lyrics are abundant (like Gabriel), the drum is loose (like Phil), the keyboard is great (like Banks) and the voice is so close to Gabriel in the Lamb, it's fascinating. This is a great package since the voice is great, but also the music is straight outta Selling England / The Lamb. Frankly, I didn't find anything clichéd or corny yet!

Listen before buying, but give it a try because it could comfort your 'good ol' times Genesis craving'.

It does what it does.

Report this review (#101044)
Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Well.I must have been growing up to this one.While "Ghost" is even (being nevertheless the incredible album), "Vacuum" has a more personal taste.Listening to new Watch's song "Doctor Mystere", I must admit, their third one will be even better...

Back to "Vacuum".It opens with surrealistic "Hills" and then bursts into "Damage Mode"(I prefer to consider them as a one track), my favouritest song The Watch EVER done. What a power!What a lirycs!What a video(downloaded from their sire today)!Simply the best track - I'd recommend to Archives collbs replace The Watch's song here on "Damage Mode"..."Wonderland" is a ballad with mellow darkly-sounding tune, surrealistic and even frightening."Shining Bald Heads" has incredible chorus in best Harold-the-Burrel's traditions - Genesis' fun side at its best.Two next tracks ("Out of the Land" and "Goddess") are the ones I had problems with...but loved them recently.Both dramatic and complex, they show the most innovative side of The Watch."Deeper Still" is again a modern-prog ballad in "Riding the Elephant"-style, pretty radio-friendly.Closing epic "Vacuum"(with hidden "Hills-2" part) has few most memorable parts to hum later to your friends...;-) I simply love it!!!

Don't waste a single minute - go and buy it! GENESIS and Genesis-related fans will love it for sure, while the others SHOULD check it too! Highly recommended!!! One of the best Symphonic band nowadays and my personal favourite from the last 5 years!

Impatiently waiting for the new one! I hope there'll be a LONG epic...;-) to show the whole potential power of THE WATCH!

Report this review (#104870)
Posted Friday, December 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I have already expressed my feelings about "The Watch" (and "The Night Watch" as well). I just like this Italian band who is of course absolutely Genesis-oriented.

When you see them live, they never hide this. They show a deep respect and sincere love about the masters. And I like this. As I like an awful lot their very good compositions. Take the opening number : "Hills". It is truely brilliant : great vocals, lush mellotron, great backing band. What do you need more if, like me, you are particulaly nostalgic of this period (the seventies) and want to prolong the experience ? I guess nothing. This is probably one of their best songs. But I like "Wonderland" a lot as well. Romantic and passionate. When neo-prog meets Italian symphonic.

The songs of this album will be shorter than on their debut one; but just listen to the jewel of "Deeper Still". Melody, emotion, beautiful keyboards, profund vocals. In just obver three minutes. The only long song is also a fabulous track. "Vacuum" is a complex one. Very much "Cinema Show" oriented with a sensitive acoustic intro interrupted by almost heavy keys. The mighty parts remind me of "The Return..." (one of their cover song during their live stes). This is another highlight.

This is effectively a trip back to the early seventies but with a fresh and modern sound. Skilled musicians and superior production make this release a great professional work. There are no weak tracks and this album should please a majority of the early Genesis aficionado. But not the ultra-purists amongst yourselves.

I could have been one of those. I started listening to them in 1973 and as some of you, I did see the great line-up on stage, while they were five. And I can not blame "The Watch" for providing me so much joy while listening to their brilliant music. I wouldn't rate this album as a masterpiece; but it is an extremely pleasant one. I am looking forward to see them again (although we were very few to attend on their previous gig at "Spirit Of '66).

One word about Rossetti. On top of being a great singer (fully Gabriel oriented), he also writes interesting and complex text. He is also very kind towards his audience. Thank you for this Simone. Keep on with the good work. Four stars.

Report this review (#132976)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Since GENESIS was my first musical education. I was very interested in the much promoted WATCH album vacuum. So I pre-ordered the CD. I don't know why I was a bit disapponted. It is indeed very much GENESIS like, however they can't thrill me. The musicians are good, the vocals are beautifull, but there is something missing and I don't know what. Still I would recommend everyone to listen for themselves. Maybe I should listen to it more often in order to aprreciate it.

2 1/2 stars.

Report this review (#149524)
Posted Thursday, November 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a really dynamic album by a band I really want to get to know better. The band is clearly influenced by classic Genesis, and the incredible resemblance Simone Rossetti has to Peter Gabriel really pushes the music forward. These are very musically dense songs, with lots of changes and intricacies keeping the music from dragging on.

My problem with this album is not even that much of a problem. The Watch wants to make music in the vein of Genesis, and they do it spectacularly. They nail the "epic cataclysmic power rock" parts with ease, with songs evoking pieces like the end of The Musical Box, The Knife, Fountain of Salmacis, and bits of Epping Forest. I'd really like to see this band capture the piano ballads, the folky guitar passages like The Cinema Show and Harlequin, and really, I'd like to hear MORE SOLOS. The instruments blend together beautifully and create an unbelievably solid musical experience, which has led me to play this album at least 8 or 9 times start to finish this week alone. But the instruments don't make their presences known enough. Rather than having a lead instrument play a lead melody, all the instruments focus on backing and letting the spectacular vocals carry the songs.

Basically I'd like to see this band have longer instrumental passages, or at least passages with more instrumental virtuosity in them. Something like In the Cage or a piano showcase like The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

I really want to give this album 5 stars. I think if they do what I said for their next album and pull it off well, it would deserve five stars. But here, I give this album as close to 5 stars as possible, because it's just that good. This is truly an excellent addition to anyone's music collection, regardless of what music you like. If you like to listen to music, you like being challenged and confused and ultimately rewarded, this is the band for you. Well, so is Genesis. :-)

Report this review (#150549)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars To many, "Vacuum" is the most powerful effort by The Watch so far. Now that we are in a moment of prog music when neo-prog seems to have become a paradigm that has noting new to offer to the ever- hungry prog community, The Watch stands out as a musical ensemble with enough creativity and punch to bring out something interesting and engaging under these lines. The "Twilight" album by The Night Watch had been a breath of fresh air, and now this off-shoot that has solidly lived its predecessor has confirmed this first impression. "Vacuum" is great, period. 'Hills' is the 1+ minute long prelude that kicks off the album's repertoire, bringing soft piano chords and e-bow guitar lines in a lyrical fashion. Then, the monster 'Damage Mode' gets in through its eruption of Genesis-based mannerisms in terms of melodic developments and arrangements. The ballsy motifs are displayed in an epic dynamics in which the softer interlude (6 and 12 string guitars plus flute state a bucolic harmonics very much a- la "Nursery Rhyme") meets a proper place to convey a moment of repose. The grandeur of track 2 finds an adequate counterpart in the eerie introspectiveness of 'Wonderland', a track full of captivating romanticism which keeps some sort of mysterious vibe to it: sometimes I feel that it is somewhat related to Gothic rock. Due to the presence of Beatlesque piano in the initial motif, 'Shining Bald Heads' may give the impression that we are treated with the poppier side of The Watch, but as it turns out, this song not only comprises but enhances the epic dynamics that we already found in 'Damage Mode'. It is less accomplished in terms of cohesion but it definitely has a more dramatic feel due to its augmented dose of contrast and colourfulness. 'Out of the Land' bears a similar mood to that of 'Wonderland', albeit with a bigger accentuation on the ethereal aspect - the melancholic spirit of the melody and the sensible use of mellotron help to reinforce this feeling in the listener's mind. 'Goddess' has to be one of the finest pieces ever written by The Watch bunch - it is yet another example of their Genesis retro- prog, with a fluid transition among themes, tempos and moods. The guitar phrases and leads are lovely, and so are the orchestrations and ambiences provided by keyboardist Manzini: "The Wake"-era IQ meets "Somewhere but yesterday"-era Citizen Cain. Complex and catchy in equal proportions, this song and 'Damage Mode' are definitive proofs of the sort of artistic magic that neo-prog can still convey thanks to the specific vision of Rossetti & co. In what seems to be an interacting intercalation of epic titles and introspective ones, 'Deeper Still' reiterates the subtleties of melancholy that we already found in tracks 3 and 5: this piece's peculiarity is that it stands in a shorter time span, and it also relies relatively on the use of digital rhythm patterns, a source of updating modernization for this retro-prog framework. The namesake song is the largest one in the album, as well as the closure. It lasts almost 11 minutes, and that means that the band has plenty of room to incorporate a variety of moods and sections. Some rockier sections are really powerful, with a compact rhythm duo that sustains the flow efficiently. Some keyboard ornaments feel a bit creepy, which is effective when it comes to create a dramatic feel at some passages. At some point, the 'Hills' motif remerges and states a reflective passage that provides a feeling of loneliness right into the end. One may feel tempted to perceive it as an incomplete mood, but with more listens one can notice that it is a very clever (anti-)climax. Overall balance: 4 ¼ stars for "Vacuum".
Report this review (#196962)
Posted Friday, January 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Trying to write a review of this album without mentioning that G name.......

The Watch is as much known as a Genesis cover band as for their own albums. It should therefore not come as a surprise that their own studio albums is pretty similar to Genesis too. And I mean Genesis and not the development of their sound Marillion under the tutelage of Fish did in the 1980s.

But it is still wrong to brand The Watch as "just a Genesis clone". The Watch sound is far more modern and based on this century than just the 1970s. In short; they sounds like the modern band they are. The quality of their material is also great. I see other reviewers is using the word "magical" here. Me too is using that word because the music The Watch tends to drag the listeners into the speakers and into a world of magical songs, vocals and vintage keyboards. All the songs here are truly great, with Damage Mode and the title track being the highlights. But the rest too is magical and world stopping. In short; an excellent album for those who likes symphonic prog with whiff of neo prog.

4 stars

Report this review (#396785)
Posted Tuesday, February 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Watch once again pull off their trick of creating a sound which is both thoroughly modern and updated and yet at the same time 100% rooted in the classic Gabriel-era Genesis sound on Vacuum, but they also slip in here and there a few intriguing influences from beyond Genesis; for instance, on the closing track Vacuum I detect a few spacey touches and a gentle hint of an almost Gong-like sense of humour. Once again, The Watch show how to do the clone band thing right; only those whose hearts are completely hardened towards clone bands could hold their Genesis mimicry against them when they do it this well.
Report this review (#672994)
Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The hunger for some good vintage GENESIS sounds led to the growing fame of The Watch, which performed several concerts after the release of ''Ghost'', even some very nice live bootlegs appeared, having caught the great energy of this band.However better things were still on the way.In 2004 The Watch released their second album on Lizard under the title ''Vacuum''.

The good potentional as listened to the ''Ghost'' finally transformed into some excellent musicianship on ''Vacuum''.Awesome Retro-Prog in a GENESIS mold with tons of acoustic textures, swirling synths and of course huge Mellotron waves.Additionally the sound of The Watch finally seems to find its own identity, though the GENESIS influence is still the leading force.The performances became even more dramatic and intricate, the guitar melodies are pretty memorable and the vocal harmonies of Rossetti are just delicious.Compositionally the band made a step forward, combining the Symphonic Rock aesthetics delivered under the nostalgic analog keys with the modern guitar sounds of Salati, featuring among others plenty of instrumental breaks between acoustic and electric themes as well as some more complexity.This is some very consistent and highly theatrical Symphonic Rock all the way.

Forget any cheap GENESIS clones out there.The Watch and ''Vacuum'' are among the better ones, if not the best, and this album comes highly recommended for all lovers of vintage Progressive Rock.

Report this review (#811024)
Posted Monday, August 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dear band, with "Damage Mode", you proclaim the color black pastel. Follow-up of a happy recovery wall mellotron. One of the notable differences with the previous album lies in guitars. Changing guitarist but even inspiration side flights of the young saint Hackett. Halftone version bittersweet. While retaining power and enjoyment.

The end of "Wonderland" does not he have one of "The Lamia" (The Lamb ... - 1974) in the crosshairs? The shadow of the sacrificial lamb that is found everywhere, in particular in the blackness of "Godness." OK, I grant you, your Ghost 2001 was full bow to Genesis 72-73. So we win at least one year. Big deal, changing lightning. Promise me one thing, if you intend for your next disc to attack the diptych Trick Of The Tail / Wind And Wuthering, look no further; after that, there is much more to what prostrate.

I know, I know, you have lesson from anyone and nothing prevents you for giving us such a show of force on the part of compositions and setting its (almost no hollow point). Of course, I grant you, your music is nothing boring, she moved without raising nauseating clouds of dust. The sublime "Shining Bald Heads' between power and lightness morbid deadpan humor, but always ready to explode heart, can even be described as exemplary success. And we can see here and there a few tendencies you stand out from the prestigious heritage (no specific title but a hardening tendency that gives the feeling).

In addition, your talent, strength of conviction and your allegiance to your precious elders command respect of a fan the first time like me. Your ability to revive the magic, with perhaps a little less melodic grace, but enjoying today means, it impresses me greatly. But you know how impressionable I am.

Let's be clear, the only song that could be a bridge between two eras, the percussive "Goddess", where you press the nail typing but we badly on the head, a bit like the last IQ. In total, Vacuum (I promise to send a bullet to the first idiot who dares to play a bad puns about this title) is not an extraordinary originality but a constant refinement. The style is great, without sentimentality, with passion, the fire inside the filament, no history of green meadows and elves but here under the current moon monsters escaped experience of mad scientists. All this enough for me to travel in space and time where your music continues to burn me like a caress: barely touched you it has its purpose, she already precipitated the loss. Ah, I can already hear the sneering happen. It may not be much time I have left. Not a minute to lose. I look through your "Emptyness" attractive.

Report this review (#1302419)
Posted Monday, November 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars The watch is an amazing band. On Vacuum they did an amazing job of not duplicating Genesis but going Beyond where Genesis left off. The overall feeling with this album is that your hearing Genesis and what they would have liked to do if Gabriel stayed on and Steve Hackett also stayed on. I for one cannot get enough of this kind of music it seems like everybody gave up but the watch has kept up. I love the mellotron and all the Anthony Phillips guitar parts and Steve Hackett guitar parts and Gabriel singing. Simon Rossetti is very very good at singing and at lyrical ideas. Do yourself a favor if you haven't got this album go out and get it and sit through a couple of listings and you will agree the watch is really doing some amazing Music These Days.
Report this review (#1547008)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Watch, a Genesis clone with some Happy the Man Vibes?

Yes yes it's true, I have listened to the Genesis clone directed to me by a good friend (you know who you are). This album by The Watch is must listen to both Genesis fans and Happy the Man fans. This album has no bad songs, nothing boring, good mood/atmosphere, and really good vocals. Gabriel-esc vocals from Mr. Simone Rossetti and he does a good job capturing the mood Genesis made back in the 70s. The song 'Deeper Still' is a gorgeous 'We Can't Dance'-esc Genesis song clone again, but the rest of the album just seems like a Genesis clone, with of course it's own spin. Now, there are some reasons why I won't this album 5 stars. They don't have their own sound, but it works for them so ... 4.5 Stars! Brilliant album.

Report this review (#2284192)
Posted Tuesday, November 26, 2019 | Review Permalink

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