WATCHTOWER

Technical Thrash Metal • United States
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Often considered the ultimate progressive/technical thrash band, Watchtower ushered in a new era of extreme metal with their 1985 debut album, Energetic Disassembly, hailed as "Rush meets Metallica at 200 mph" by one publication. Featuring an array of chaotic time changes, aggressive vocals, and possibly one of the most accomplished rhythm sections in metal, this was one of the highlights of metal in the '80s. By 1989 Watchtower's line-up had changed when they released their sophomore effort, Control And Resistance. The album's quality did not diminish, although the overall atmosphere was a bit more reined in compared with the wildness of their debut. While Watchtower never attained mainstream success, they are considered the godfathers of the progressive/technical metal movement and have been cited as influences on popular progressive bands such as Dream Theater.

After the release of 'Control And Resistance' the band went on indefinite hiatus, with Doug Keyser and
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WATCHTOWER Discography

WATCHTOWER albums / top albums

WATCHTOWER Energetic Disassembly album cover 4.00 | 20 ratings
Energetic Disassembly
Technical Thrash Metal 1985
WATCHTOWER Control And Resistance album cover 4.20 | 26 ratings
Control And Resistance
Technical Thrash Metal 1989

WATCHTOWER EPs & splits

WATCHTOWER Concepts of Math: Book One album cover 4.21 | 4 ratings
Concepts of Math: Book One
Technical Thrash Metal 2016

WATCHTOWER live albums

WATCHTOWER demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

WATCHTOWER Meltdown album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Meltdown
Technical Thrash Metal 1984
WATCHTOWER Demo 1987 album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Demo 1987
Technical Thrash Metal 1987

WATCHTOWER re-issues & compilations

WATCHTOWER Demonstrations In Chaos album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
Demonstrations In Chaos
Technical Thrash Metal 2002

WATCHTOWER singles (1)

.. Album Cover
3.88 | 3 ratings
The Size Of Matter
Technical Thrash Metal 2010

WATCHTOWER movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

WATCHTOWER Reviews

WATCHTOWER Energetic Disassembly

Album · 1985 · Technical Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
The first true Progressive Metal band of all time

Manic technical insanity. There was nothing even remotely close to the progressive technicality going on in metal (or anywhere else aside from Jazz) at the time of this release. So far ahead of it's time that it can still be called an impressive anomaly of musical prowess today.

The music on display here is 5 star material. There are just a few unfortunate problems that really drag it down; first of all, the vocalist isn't great. Especially where every other member is an absolute virtuoso at their instrument, the weak vocalist really stands out. To his credit, he does write some interesting lyrics, especially for the time. The guitar and drum tones are also pretty bad, although the bass sounds great (it's audible).

Regardless, it's probably this album that spawned hyper technical metal, and pushed the genre to even further extremes without simply playing heavier. Groundbreaking and influential, but more importantly still an amazingly entertaining record to this day.

WATCHTOWER Concepts of Math: Book One

EP · 2016 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Concepts of Math: Book One" is an EP release by US, Texas based technical/progressive metal act Watchtower. The EP was released through Prosthetic Records in October 2016. Watchtower was formed in 1982 and released the two groundbreaking albums "Energetic Disassembly (1985)" and "Control and Resistance (1989)" before disbanding in 1990. They reunited in 1999 (first with original vocalist Jason McMaster and from 2009 onwards with "Control and Resistance (1989)" vocalist Alan Tecchio) and there have been rumors of them working on new material ever since. In 2010 they released the one track single "The Size of Matter" and in 2015 the three one track singles "Arguments Against Design", "M-Theory Overture", and "Technology Inaction" followed. "Concepts of Math: Book One" features all four single tracks plus the track "Mathematica Calculis", which is exclusive to this EP release.

Stylistically Watchtower more or less continue where they left off in the late 80s/early 90s. The music is fusion influenced technical/progressive metal in the more raw and occasionally thrashy end of the scale. Lead vocalist Alan Tecchio is still a force to be reckoned with. Although he doesn´t sing as many extremely high pitched notes as he did on "Control and Resistance (1989)", he is still an incredibly powerful singer, with a distinct sounding voice, and he can still hit the high notes when that is called for. The musicianship is generally out of this world and there are several jaw-dropping moments on the EP. Intricate technical drumming and bass playing, and Ron Jarzombek´s almost avant garde guitar playing will keep you on your toes throughout the playing time of the EP.

It´s no surprise this is music which requires a few spins to sink in. The song structures are complex, and it takes a while before hooks begin to appear, but if you´re familiar with the band´s back catalogue you wouldn´t expect it any other way. Despite the 5 tracks on the 28:55 minutes long EP being recorded at different recording sessions, there is a great overall flow on the release and the sound production is similar on all tracks too, which results in a nicely consistent listening experience. Regarding the sound production it´s powerful, clear, and detailed, which suits the material perfectly.

So upon conclusion "Concepts of Math: Book One" may not be the full-length fans of the band have been waiting for in years, but it´s pretty close and with a playing time nearly 30 minutes long, you do get quite a bit of quantity for the money. Add great quality to that equation and we have a strong comeback release on our hands. Watchtower was once one of the most adventurous acts on the metal scene, and while most listeners today probably aren´t as surprised by their incredible playing skills and intricate compositions, as audiences were in the 80s (a lot of development in the technical/progressive part of the genre has happened since those days), they still deliver very intriguing and powerful technical/progressive metal and they are still among the kings of the genre. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

WATCHTOWER Concepts of Math: Book One

EP · 2016 · Technical Thrash Metal
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Nightfly
Way back in 1989 I remember buying Watchtower’s second album Control And Resistance. This was early days for prog metal, especially as technical as Watchtower were. There was already Fates Warning and Queensrhyche and these guys were no slouches, but nowhere near as technical as Watchtower. Even Dream Theater were just getting started. However, despite the undisputed virtuosity on display I was left somewhat cold finding it being a case of style over substance with little in the way of memorable songs.

Fast forward to 2016 and they’re back with the same line-up as Control And Resistance. Concepts Of Math: Book One is their first substantial body of work since then. It’s a five track E.P. clocking in at just under half an hour. Four of the five tracks were originally released as digital only singles, the first back in 2010. They recorded the final track Mathematica Calculis especially for inclusion here.

I’m pleased to say I like this a lot better than their earlier work. The reason being that whilst their incredible chops are still intact, in fact better, their song writing skills have also greatly improved. The music is still incredibly complicated with jazz colliding with metal but flows so much better to my ears with some jaw dropping musical interplay, compelling riffs and injected with a substantial dose of melody. Age has also tempered Alan Tecchio’s histrionic vocals which are much improved these days and to my ears his singing flows much better over the complex song structures than before. Fortunately all five tracks are excellent and the short length definitely left me wanting more so hopefully a full length album will be in the offing soon.

These days there’s there’s no shortage of bands making music this complex in the metal world, but Watchtower played an important role in the development of technical prog metal and were very influential. Perhaps now they may be able to reap some of the rewards from their earlier groundwork and gain a wider following. On the strength of this excellent release that seems a strong possibility.

WATCHTOWER Control And Resistance

Album · 1989 · Technical Thrash Metal
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Warthur
Watchtower's Control and Resistance finds them taking the sound of Energetic Disassembly and doubling down on it, presenting a progressively-minded take on technical thrash metal whose intricate complexities would find few parallels in the metal field until the likes of Cynic and Atheist took up the torch. Ron Jarzombek's guitar performance is the key here, but for the most part the whole band pull their weight; some have complained about the vocals from Alan Tecchio, but I don't think they are bad, but they are just kind of *there* without adding or detracting an awful lot. Still, that isn't enough to appreciably mark down the album, which sits alongside their debut as a classic manifesto for technical metal.

WATCHTOWER Energetic Disassembly

Album · 1985 · Technical Thrash Metal
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Warthur
It isn't quite true that technicality was absent from thrash prior to Watchtower bringing out this debut - Metallica were taking things in a more intricate direction on Ride the Lightning, after all - but Watchtower would, on Energetic Disassembly, push technicality to the fore in a way which no other band had dared to do. Before this, "progressive metal" mostly involved metal bands' nods to the prog bands of the past, like Iron Maiden's epics, but here Watchtower chart a course for innovative and complex musical experimentation in a metal context which demonstrated that the tougher, heavier, more extreme metal subgenres of metal could get artsy and clever too. Blazing a trail which would subsequently be taken by the likes of Cynic or Atheist, Energetic Disassembly is a brilliant example of how genres can be blended without blunting the appeal of either of them.

WATCHTOWER Movies Reviews

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