Watchtower

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Control and Resistance

Watchtower - Control and Resistance ©1989 Noise Int.
1. Instruments of Random Murder
2. The Eldritch
3. Mayday in Kiev
4. The Fall of Reason
5. Control and Resistance
6. Hidden Instincts
7. Life Cycles
8. Dangerous Toy

Watchtower is one of those odd bands that fell through the cracks during their existence but have managed to garner a small cult status highly based on their musicianship. Their nimble playing coupled with a thrash metal approach was unique, but that doesn't necessarily mean Control and Resistance is a winner on all counts. In fact, at times, it is a downright tedious listen.

At least for me, the biggest drawback to this album are the vocals of Alan Tecchio. His high pitched wailing often was grating and worse, he was stuck in the unenviable position of trying to figure out melodies over deftly played music that didn't give much room for heavy metal singing. The lyrics were such that occasionally he was forced to rush through lines to keep up with the amount of words in the text. Too many syllables! Oddly, Tecchio had joined Watchtower, replacing previous vocalist Jason McMaster who had gone to do some some "Teas N'" and "Pleas N" in Dangerous Toys. It is a bit of a stretch of the imagination to picture the glam singer waxing melodic about the Chernobyl disaster.

On the flipside, there's no doubting the dexterity and nimble playing of the remainder of the band. Ron Jarzombek's guitar playing is highly regarded for a reason and Doug Keyser's bass playing is top notch. One could argue that their ability to play whatever their hearts desired might not have led to the best songwriting, of course. More than occasionally different song parts sounded jumbled together and not arranged with anything in mind beyond "Hey, Alan, look what we can do...can you sing over this?"

Based on musicianship along, Control and Resistance is rather impressive, but its tendency to bog down in musicianship as well as Tecchio's wailing makes it an album that I tended to avoid over the years. I suspect it has more appeal to bass players who really want to push their abilities, not general metal fans.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2011

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