Watchtower | Concepts Of Math : Book One EP
Label: Prosthetic Records
Release Year: 2016
Genre: Progressive Technical Metal
Rick Colaluca – Drums
Ron Jarzombek – Guitar
Doug Keyser – Bass
Alan Tecchio – Vocals
You do not have to have a lengthy library of albums to be a pivotal influence in the area of music or entertainment in general. As a matter of some of the most influential bands or artists may only have one or two albums out but the influence and legacy they have lives through other bands or artists.
This is the very case with the Texas based progressive metal band Watchtower. Although Watchtower had Energetic Disassembly in 1985 and the pivotal yet influential album Control and Resistance in 1989, the band as a collective would not be heard again in a full collective form of songs until 2016’s EP Concepts of Math : Book One. To be very honest as I write this review I thought this would simply never happen. Well there are times when we are to never say never because the unexpected can and on some occasion’s happens.
Much like Queensryche, Fates Warning, Crimson Glory and Savatage Watchtower rank right up their as the class of pioneers of progressive metal. Watchtower took a much more thrash approach to progressive metal however with far more time signatures and chord progressions. As a matter of fact Watchtower’s chord progressions can and are felt and heard today’s progressive metal landscape. Bands like Tesseract, Leperous, Contortionist, Between The Buried And Me, Anciients Dillinger Escape Plan and Zero Hour can all trace those chord progressions Watchtower were doing 30 years prior to their very sound today. Watchtower’s sound was very much pre ‘Djent/Math’ metal.
Watchtower’s Concepts Of Math: Book One sees one of Prog Metal’s founding fathers return stronger than ever with such savage ferocity. Although it is only made up of five tracks they still knock the listener right on their audio ass. The fierce rhythm sections and complex time signatures confirm that the bands I mentioned above can trace their melodic heritage and DNA back to Watchtower and Concepts Of Math : Book One solidifies and galvanize’s this. I would like to point out a few highlights from Watchtower’s Concepts Of Math: Book One.
M- Theory Overture opens up with a progressive thrash shred frenzy with the guitar. The frenzy is blistering in its very nature. Soon it drops off then the band go to work with the natural complex and intricate time signatures that formed their unique sound from day one. The time signatures definitely are not for the faint of heart if you are into music that is written in 4/4. The bass takes a complimentary percussive direction along side the drums to make up the distinct sound of Watchtower.
Arguments Against Design begins with a thunderous yet very melodic bass line with the drums and guitar coming in and out with breaks. Soon the towering vocals come in such clarity considering the heavily thrash nature of the rhythmic time signatures and heaviness. The lead guitar gives the illusion their could be more than one guitar at times without it obviously sounding like it was overdubbed. The band sounds as if they wrote this track on the bass to get the desire rhythm effect.
Technology Inaction picks right up where Arguments Against Design off. The thunderous and brutal complex time signatures within the rhythm section continue the beautiful assault of the senses of the listener. The guitar serves both as a shredding lead and thunderous percussive rhythm instrument. With the thrashy speed metal backbone the band also continue the time signatures with intricate progressive interchanges within the passages. The lyrical content keeps with the common theme gracefully throughout the EP. The vocals at times even follow in step with the rhythm sections.
The Size Of Matter is not a original for the EP Concepts Of Math: Book One. This particular track was originally released on its own back in 2010 as a single. I believe the band released it perhaps to overwhelming demand for something new or the fact the band wanted to remind their fans and the people that they were still around. Instead giving a analysis of this track I have embedded the original.
Video Courtesy of (Watchtower Official YouTube Channel)
Mathematica Calculis sees the band continue with its own unique time signatures and chord progressions. This is the mini epic of the EP clocking in at 9:25. However the band does more in 9:25 than some progressive bands do in a 15:00 to 20:00 epic. The chord progressions remind me a lot of NWOBHM with galloping progressions. The band totally assault the senses very wonderfully. This track is a melodic roller coaster going in and out of various progressions and passages without it sounding like the band are taking the listener on the same sonic rail or track. There are some wicked backing vocals that run in perfect time with the lead vocal. The rhythm sections are almost as if the band are writing a mathematical equation and transcribing it to instruments.
Watchtower have certainly added more to the foundation of its influential legacy with Concepts Of Math : Book One. My only hope could be a follow up to this and perhaps some live dates. The band have also reminded people who they are. I also see this Concepts Of Math : Book One as a project that the band have made to attract newer fans to its already cult like status. Watchtower’s Concepts Of Math: Book One gets a 5/5 and will be the first EP ever to enter my Top 10 of Albums of the Year for 2016.
Video Courtesy of (Prosthetic Records Official YouTube Channel)