Review Summary: Controlled by confusion, confused by control
In order to better understand "C&R", we should start with a small introduction concerning the "environment" of its release. This came out in 1989, when prog metal and technical thrash had already made their first entrance. And what of an entrance that was! "Operation mindcrime", "No exit" from one side, "Rust in peace", "Punishment for decadence" on the other side, those years were trully exceptional. High pitched vocals were really popular among metal bands and a tenor who could work on high octaves was a must-have asset for any serious band.
Amidst all this, the second album by Watchtower was released. The album is progressive in the true sense of the term. The tempos change in the blink of an eye from fast to slow and mid tempo, delivered by an excellent rhythm section. Guitar work is exceptional, showing both skill and inspiration. We don't get simple major scales, minors are used very often in a perplexed perpetuity. The vocals ofc are high pitched and this, throughout the whole release, making the sound more edgy and agressive.
The songs intermix many progressive ideas, sudden blast beats, welcoming bass intermissions, crazy riffing/prototype soloing and great technical ability. The lyrics are far from being generic and they add on a very complete package. Also, the imposing atmosphere that it creates, contributes to its uniqueness.
So after all these arguments, where is the catch? Why isn't this a classic?
This happens for various reasons that are easily noticeable. First of all, the vocals tire the listener after a while. Its the same feeling that someone gets, when listening to Jon Arch for more than 5 minutes. He gets bored and a bit uneasy. Watchtower wanted to prove that they can play everything in the extreme, as far as high technic was concerned. And that was their downfall. That is also the reason why Alan Tecchio stated back then that he doesn't want to sing that way anymore.
Then, another issue is the "dry" production. All instruments involved are clearly listenable, but nothing other than that. No power, no real dynamic, a simple production which reveals a "that will do" attitude.
As a result of these parameters, in the end, the album lacks seriously in replay value. Most of the listeners will listen to this once and then they would file it back to the closet. And the only valid reason that this appears in many 80's collections is more the uniqueness of its style and not the musical pleasure that it brings forth.
Still it's a solid effort and it has its own merit in the best decade for the heavy metal music. Only recommendable to prog/thrash metal enthusiasts and metal collectors.