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I almost forgot this thing had come out, which is most likely a progposeur crime of monstrous proportions considering how much of a proponent I've been for Watchtower's sophomore Control and Resistance this last quarter-century. Yet as I was digging through some random files in some random, abandoned folder, there it was, staring at me straight in the face, taunting me to listen through it once more, and it's not an act I regret, because if nothing else, "The Size of Matter" has me salivating for the next 'proposed' chapter in the Towerverse, the long elusive new album Mathematics, which I'm not honestly sure is even a thing anymore, but when I go to their official website, I find nothing but four years of crickets...way to keep up on that, folks.
Anyway, the song itself was something to get temporarily excited over, for with the exception that it is bolstered by a meatier mix of guitars than ever Control or the debut was, and Alan Tecchio's shriek ability somewhat more restrained through either age or wear (or both), this links pretty directly to the material they were writing before the dawn of the 90s. Schizophrenic progressive thrash written with an astounding level of musicianship, and just as much attention paid to detail. The bass and guitars here are specifically both pretty nasty, pretending as if the last few decades hadn't existed and they were continuing forth with the previous direction, only feeling even more up front and in the face. Jarzombek's drums are still quite electronic in context, a good fit for the surgical, jazzy leads that punctuate the bridge in the tune, which are easily my favorite bit in the song, but obviously the guy is such a damn brilliant timekeeper that it wouldn't make much of a difference if they were mixed and recorded with a more acoustic aesthetic in mind. Some of the fills and tempo changes are fantastic.
Tecchio does branch out into his high range with a lower, conversational harmony at one point, but I do rather enjoy the mix of his performance, it definitely carves straight into the listener and drives home the lyrics. The one area where this does fall behind Control & Resistance is that, as proficient as the musicians remain, as technical the discourse of their instruments, I did not feel as if I was being catapulted into some alien-to-me tragedy or situation like I felt back in 1989. The riffs and vocals, while impressive and consistent, aren't necessarily as memorable or on the level as the older material, but I can't lie: if they could finally get that long-anticipated post-reunion full-length out, and it was at least this quality or better, I doubt you'd hear many complaints among their fanbase...least of all from myself. As Heathen, Paradox and several other melodic tech-thrashers have already proven, the Old Guard are perfectly willing to step up into the boots of the New Guard if nobody (apart from Vektor) wants the job. Hope more something comes of this, the tune is on point.
Released as a teaser in anticipation of a new album that may, or may not come, Watchtower's 'The Size Of Matter' is a new song from a band who has laid dormant for over twenty years. In that time, Ron Jarzombek has gone on to other great things with his music, and if the direction on this track indicates, he seems to have taken creative control over the band. For the first minute or so of play length, 'The Size Of Matter' rolls and jerks onward like a typical Jarzombek tech fest, not unlike what he currently does with the Blotted Science project. When Alan Tecchio's vocals come in however, the listener is reminded that Watchtower is back. The song takes a thrashy turn from there, bringing back to light their proggy leanings. The lyrics explore a range of mathematical and scientific concepts,and it does a good job of creating a spacey vibe for the song. Watchtower don't sound like they used to anymore though; Tecchio's vocals have aged, and while still powerful, don't sound capable of hitting those brilliant highs. 'The Size Of Matter' is less thrashy, and more tech-oriented than the Watchtower of old, and if these guys decide to go somewhere with the plans of a third album, it's sure to be a blast.
Watchtower, the ever exalted king’s of technical thrash and founding fathers of progressive metal have released their first new piece of music in twenty-one years. I didn’t know what to think when this single was unleashed; would it sound like Energetic Disassembly with Jarzombek? Would it be the technical insanity of Control & Resistance? What would be the sound of this new piece of Watchtower be like???
Well First thing’s first, it is indeed what you would expect from Watchtower, fast and insane. Something that was a big surprise is the shrieker put in place of vocal duties. In place of legend Jason McMaster (Whom apparently is too busy in Broken Teeth to deal with Watchtower) was once more Hades vocalist Alan Tecchio. Alan’s vocals have mutated a lot in the twenty years since Control & Resistance was recorded. The mutation happened to be the fact that he can no longer shriek. He has now limited himself to the normal range vocals vaguely resembling David Godfrey’s from Heathen.
Another element that came as a surprise is how heavy the track is, it seems that Jarzombek’s meddling in Blotted Science has carried over into Watchtower. And on the subject of unsung guitar legend Ron Jarzombek, the guy sure plays at his usual sporadic style in the veign of his solo albums and his project Blotted Science.
Well it would seem that after a twenty-one year long hiatus of new and original recordings Watchtower are still on their feet and proving to the world that Mathematics is finally going to happen. Despite the absence of McMaster this track is indeed a killer cut and by the looks of it, Mathematics will be a third masterpiece for the Texan legends-97%