Watchtower! Energetic Disassembly!
I love me some progressive techy thrash! This album as a whole is such a fun listen, without getting wanky! There is nothing I love hearing in an album more than such a tight group of very talented musicians. Not just some thrasher bros who don’t take too much pride in their instruments. Don’t get me wrong! I am very impressed with the works of many bros. But, I don’t need to tell you that the gentlemen in Watchtower are serious musicians.
But alas, I want to begin with how much I enjoy their musicianship, and then dive into the album! It’s such a rarity to find a bassist and guitarist that play so well together. This is a big inspiration for me. There are many moments where the guitar jamming out a thrashy riff and the bass will be matching his bass tones and adding octaves. That specifically was a big influence for me! Or when there is a ripping high guitar lead and the bass backs down and plays a harmony. Not to mention the Halford like vocals, those are spot on and mixed beautifully around this album. There definitely isn’t any other way I would like to hear vocals on an album such as this. And the very skilled drums make for a band like no other! He makes me want to learn drums. There are many little moments in the drums section that make me pause and re-listen; which says a lot because I am very string instrument oriented.
The album starts with a VERY thrash guitar riff that brings up the energy right away! There is actually something a little different at the beginning because the way the drums and vocals are; it actually sounds very punk at first with a hint of NWOBHM. I know that sounds crazy, but now that I have said something I bet others notice it too. Not to mention how ground breaking this was for its time; its easy to forget this was released in 1985! The time period gives more of a reason why there is the upbeat punky NWOBHM sounds in their style.
There is VEEERY notable mentions to every instrument in every song! There is just so many stop and rewind points in the song with the drums, vocals, guitar and bass! Just off the top of my head, there is the chorus in the first song Violent Change; where those vocals are delivered with such power. That is something most people can’t do even with lessons! And, to be running around on stage and performing has got to be such an exhausting task on his part!
MY personal favorite is DAT BASS! He is going to keep up with those guitar leads and give you… DUN. DUN. DUUUN.. BASS SOLOS! A man after my own heart; or vice versa… because he is older than me. The most bassy, guitary, drum, and vocaly of all the tracks is most definitely the title track. You have to hand it to these gentlemen for making the title track the best on the album. The bass solo that begins at 2:52 is just mind blowing. The guitar solo that follows is also second to the solo at 1:51 of Asylum; the way it comes in there just makes me hit rewind every time! Another thing that really sticks out is that every time there isn’t vocals, and the guitar and bass aren’t doing anything out of this world, the drummer is just having the time of his life. This happens often at the beginning of songs such as; Asylum and Tyrants in Distress.
We can all take lessons from these guys. Certainly WAY ahead of its time; if this album were to be released today…. It would still blow your mind.
Favorite tracks: Asylum, Energetic Disassembly, Cimmerian Shadows… ALL OF THEM!