Watchtower
Control and Resistance


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
May 18th, 2008 | 224 replies


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Musically accomplished... vocally challenging.

When Ozzy’s son wanted to piss off the neighbors during one of the episodes of “The Osbournes” he played a Meshuggah album at high volumes. According to a recent news article, when the American government wants to torture captives and/or its own troops during training exercises they play anything from Deicide to Barney the Purple Dinosaur. It’s a shame that none of these people seem to be aware of this album because it could torture a majority of people that hear it at almost any volume. While I’m not one of those people that could be tortured by this, I’m realistic enough to know that I’m in the minority.

Watchtower are one of the very first bands that could be referred to as “tech metal” and they have inspired countless progressive metal bands (most notably Spiral Architect who basically emulate this band). Based on the band’s influence on current artists, you may be wondering where the intro paragraph came from and it comes from the vocals of Alan Tecchio. Through out this entire album he sings as high pitched as possible, as often as possible. Alan pushes his vocals so hard that any change in pitch immediately sounds (and is) off key. The only positive I can give the guy is that in interviews he claims that the band forced him to sing well outside of his range in order to have the vocals as high as possible; which may be true since in Non-Fiction his vocals are much better.

It really is a shame that the vocals are going to turn so many people off of this band, because the music is awesome. The most recognizable contributor to this amazingly technical music is guitarist Ron Jarzombek (Spastic Ink, Blotted Science). If I had much knowledge of music theory I could throw out all the buzzwords that imply that his abilities are nuts, but suffice it to say that his parts are very complicated, often times changing within a split second and his solos are of the angular variety that most closely resemble something off of a Meshuggah album in that they are often very rhythmic.

While Ron is definitely a great guitar player, the rhythm section of this band are no slackers either. The truth of the matter is that their parts are generally what make this album so technically challenging. For example, if you could isolate the drums on this album it would sound like the drummer was performing an eight track drum solo. The closest person with a similar style that I can think of would be Sean Reinhart of Cynic. Bass player, Doug Keyser (whom Atheist once unsuccessfully tried to get into their band), adds to the chaos with his very precise and rhythmic approach to the bass. Due to the clarity of the production it is easy to hear his bass lines bouncing in and out of the main riffs creating its own rhythms and melodies independent of the rest of the music.

I won’t lie, I really like this album and have been able to eventually appreciate the vocals. Anyone who values dazzling displays of musicianship may be able to ignore the vocals as well, but for those who need an entire package you won’t be able to get through the first track. Also, the production is slightly thin which sacrifices heaviness for the sake of clarity which may turn some off as well. If you’re feeling adventurous their music is still easy to find online either to stream or through other means.



Recent reviews by this author
Cannibal Corpse A Skeletal DomainRabbit Junk Pop That Pretty Thirty
Anathema Distant SatellitesFlotsam and Jetsam No Place for Disgrace - 2014
Mindcage Our Own DevicesFates Warning Darkness in a Different Light
user ratings (149)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
marbledking (3.5)
Controlled by confusion, confused by control...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
March 14th 2008


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their Myspace Page:
http://www.myspace.com/watchtowermetal

Digging: Necropoli - I

Slaytan
March 14th 2008


1186 Comments


I just gave Eldritch a listen on their MySpace page. Musically it was good, but I don't care much for the vocals. Also, good job.

Tyler
Emeritus
March 14th 2008


7926 Comments


Legendary album, scarily influential, surprisingly unlistenable thanks to commander douchebag on vocals.

Willie
Moderator
March 14th 2008


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Legendary album, scarily influential, surprisingly unlistenable thanks to commander douchebag on vocals.
Damn! This should have been my summary.

hermitspancho
March 14th 2008


278 Comments


I really like this album musically but as everyone knows the vocal is seriously painful.I cant listen to the thing for more than one song without wanting to destroy the cd

Lol @ Commander Douchebag

Lunarfall
March 14th 2008


3179 Comments


This would seriously be a 4.5 or 5 if it wasn't for the vocals.

rasputin
March 14th 2008


14544 Comments


I want to check this out now, just to see what the vocals are like.

LifeInABox
March 14th 2008


3708 Comments


They're horrid. It's like Dio if he had like 2 less testicles. Musically, it's Cynic ish level.

Willie
Moderator
March 15th 2008


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So, Rasputin, did you end up checking it out? What did you think of the vocals? Hbp's description of the vocals and music are pretty accurate.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2008


2676 Comments


Great review.... and what Cocaine said. It's astounding how influential this album is for the bands you described, especially Spiral Architect, but man, I can't even describe the vocals with euphemistic language.

Willie
Moderator
March 15th 2008


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I can't even describe the vocals with euphemistic language.
Yeah, I think I've just had this CD long enough to be able to get past the vocals, because the music is so damn good... plus he is better in Non-Fiction and later Hades albums.

Slaytan
March 15th 2008


1186 Comments


I just noticed your comment on my list. And in regard to how Samael's Blood Ritual is, it is solid throughout, but nothing special.

EDIT: Just an FYIThis Message Edited On 03.15.08

Willie
Moderator
March 15th 2008


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the info... I'll probably skip going back any farther then "Ceremony of Opposites" in Samael's past then.

rattlehead42147
October 4th 2008


1345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

3 is a very unfortunate rating for an album this great.

Willie
Moderator
October 5th 2008


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, I know. I tried to keep my personal views out of the rating and include the common problems people have with this album even though I don't have those problems with it (I mentioned all this in the closing paragraph). If I wrote the review again I don't know if i'd still go that route.This Message Edited On 10.06.08

KILL
September 7th 2009


71795 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

getting this shit today! great review

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

Willie
Moderator
September 9th 2009


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool. Did you end up getting it?

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2009


16395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh my are the vocals bad.

Oh my are the instruments good.

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

Willie
Moderator
September 9th 2009


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My sentiments exactly. I've got used to the vocals after listening to this for so long. He's really not a bad vocalist. He did a grungy thing with the guitar player from Hades called Non-Fiction that was really good and proved that he could actually sing.

Ulsufyring
September 9th 2009


1724 Comments


going to listen, wish me luck


edit: bahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahaah



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy