|Sorry. No lame joke today.|
Now for the real reason you are here: your semiweekly recommendation of obscure metal. This time around, i will point you to one of the earliest acts of progressive metal, (if you exclude the prog-rock-metal bands). Watchtower is a Prog/tech-thrash band in some of the same vein as mekong delta, coroner and realm. Their second album, Control and Resistance is the more progressive of their two albums, and a very good progressive effort at that.
The first element that deserves attention is the bass playing. Lines that differ from the guitar is the norm on this album. It is the most impressive bass playing i've heard on any thrash record, both musically, and to some extent technically. The modal qualities of the bass playing make the lines interesting at all times. The few times that the bass follow the guitar it is still highly audible, because of the equalization, with boosted mids and a excellent production with no mud in the sound at all. There are small bass solos scattered around, but most notable is the solo on the final track: "dangerous toy". This solo has such a jazzy quality and with the band following it, it is amazing. (jazz-thrash has definatly triggered my interest, and i plan to find more bands in this vein of music, to review)
The vocals have their own, extremely distinct style, they sometimes just completely ignore what is happening with the rest of the song. The most prominent example is "Mayday in Moscow" where time and melody is in intentional conflict with the rest of the band. The result is ear-catching, as the use of progressive singing is so little widespread. The uniqueness of the vocals is simply astounding.
Percussion-vise, this album is extremely varied. The drummer is a master of accentuating at the strangest of times, (in a good way), there are a few less interesting beats around if you look for them, but they are never kept around for long, and the simpleness is only used when it is extremely effective. the only complaint one could have, is that some of the toms sound a bit flat, and could use a bit more punch. This is hardly a thing to note in a recomendation, but for the sake of not praising everything into the sky...
The guitar riffing is of a highly progressive nature, but retaining a technical and thrashy edge at most times. The leads are very memorable, and the soloing is strong. Around the record there is some of the best sweeping i've heard in a long time. However the guitars mostly hold the backseat on this record. They do their job, but they are more there to bind the sound together, than to make their own voice heard.
Strong songwriting, great individual performances and a knack for making things that are both extremely complicated, yet catchy. If you can stand the vocals, this is a great record. Easily a 9/10.
Watchtower - Control and Resistance (mediafire)
Buy it from amazon
Mayday in Kiev:
P.S. These guys have a new single out. and if they manage to find a vocalist, they will record a new album as soon as possible (most probably named: "mathermatics")