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Watchtower

Control & Resistance

Review by Gary Hill

While this album was originally released in 1989, this is a brand new reissue of it. If you've never heard this band, you have probably never heard anything quite like this. Imagine blending Rush, King Crimson, early Metallica and King Diamond. You are probably picturing something very close to this. The musicianship here is amazing. And, it all really rocks, too.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Instruments of Random Murder
This comes in thrashy, but quickly turns to something that's quirky and very proggy. After the introduction runs through and ends, a new more purely metal jam ensues. Screaming vocals come over the top of that backdrop as this continues to work through various shifts and changes. This is pure metal, but it's also complex and unusual. There is some crazed guitar soloing further down the road. The vocals make me think just a little of King Diamond.
The Eldritch
This has so much drama and so many proggy twists and turns. Yet, it's pure heavy metal of the fierce and mean variety. This is a fairly short cut - less than three-and-a-half minutes, so it's amazing how much they pack into it.
Mayday in Kiev
While in some ways this isn't a huge change, there is an amazing instrumental section built into this. It has some killer angular dual guitar soloing. The vocals are so quirky and yet so catchy. The tune really does a great job of walking the fence between prog and heavy metal.
The Fall of Reason
If anything, this song is even more complex and crazed. I can definitely make out some leanings toward Rush on parts of this. Yet, it also has some of the most mainstream and melodic hooks. Harmonics later in the track lead it into a movement that is pure progressive rock, even leaning toward Yes. The bass work on that section is amazing.
Control and Resistance
There is a cool, proggy introduction to the title track. It shifts more toward the metal end from there. This goes through so many crazed changes and covers so much territory. This is another quirky, screaming metal excursion. It has some of the catchier hooks, but also some particularly challenging parts. It even works out toward neo-classical fusion in an instrumental section later. This really is a powerhouse.
Hidden Instincts
The basic concept isn't largely changed here. Instead we get another smoking hot slab of pure progressive metal. It's packed full of changes.
Life Cycles
This song, on the other hand, has some real variety. There are mellower, more melodic, pure prog sections built into it. It's still has plenty metal in the mix, too, though. It's also full of twists and turns. The guitar work that comes in around the four-minute mark really has King Crimson written all over it. There are some fusion leanings as it drives on from there, but it eventually works back to the more pure metal zones.
Dangerous Toy

This comes in fierce and furious and only gets more so as it continues. The bass goes into some pretty amazing fusion-like territory later on in the run of this cut. There is a drop back to just bass and drum, and then fierce guitar a bit like some of the weirdness on Judas Priest's "Sinner" comes over the top. The track continues with a merging of fusion and metal before eventually driving out into more pure metal from there.

 
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