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Social Resistance!!! - 96%

Evershifting, November 27th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1985, 12" vinyl, Zombo Records

Who said thrash couldn't be introspective? Because Watchtower have seriously disproved that statement with the power this incredible album. It's like the band has thrown textbooks and most of a lecture hall at them to make the point known.

Back before even Voivod thought to go proggy these Texans were causing a meltdown. This was literally violent change; the fury of Exodus without Satanic lyrics, the genius of ELP without the pretention and the most powerful rhythm section since the mighty Black Fucking Sabbath (see Paranoid and Sabotage for head splitting examples). Rick Colaluca with his mixed drum set of electric toms and original kit, provides my favourite drum performance ever, as pointed out in another review, you simply cannot follow the patterns he throws out. Even Gene Hoglan and Richard Christy of Death fame become like children hitting bushes with sticks when you compare them. Speaking of Gene; his time lapse art with glowing drumsticks is really impressive you should check it out, I would definitely love to see the drum patterns of Argonne Forest, Asylum or the title track as part of the art collection. The fills and tricks presented here are like no other record, even other Watchtower ones. Rick is basically Neil Peart; if Neil Peart didn't fuck around with three million different drums, took more acid than Lemmy circa 1974, picked up all the jazz stylings of Bill Ward and decided to play thrash.

I completely adore this album, everything about it is completely unique; the mad drums, overpowering bass, the mad drums, razor sharp guitar, the mad drums, harpie-human hybrid vocals and did I mention the mad drums?

This record gets a lot of stick for the production, when I first heard it I wanted to retch and fuck my player into the bin as most other people would have but just like Stairway to Heaven all that was needed was a few patient listens to appreciate all the subtleties and greatness. Yes the bass is enormous for 80's thrash however that's due to the band only having one guitarist unlike most other bands of the time and the band producing it themselves. I know the sheer volume of the Doug Keyser's instrument of war probably would only be encountered again in Saint Vitus or Primus but who cares? Listen to Cimmerian Shadows for an example of how to do bass better than .

Having heard Energetic Disassembly before Control and Resistance I lean towards ED more, for me the production here became the "Watchtower sound" so the Dream Theatre-esque style of CaR just doesn't fit properly. I vastly prefer the madness and eccentricity of ED to the high profile, straight edged virtuoso of CaR. Control and Resistance always seems bland in comparison like it fits with every other prog metal albums of the time (Fates Warning, Dream Theatre, Savatage, Mekong Delta etc...) Thankfully this LP isn't a stop/start traffic jam like a lot of modern "progressive" metal (pointing a middle finger at you Dream Theatre). I'm convinced of you spliced in "The Eldritch" into a Psychotic Waltz album like "A Social Grace" the only difference you would notice would be that the vocals replaced the mania with higher pitch.

Staying with vocals Jason McMaster (Scottish BDSM sounding name aside) handles the mike infinitely better than on the previous demo, where he held all the grace of a potato singing Subhumans records. For this LP he maintains a stern and lucid tone, shrieking along to the frothing bass lines of Keyser. Finally the guitar playing of Billy White is fantastic, yes it's not as technical as Jarzombek but damnit it's so much more interesting than noodling for forty minutes. A great example is the main riff of Asylum, which flows along beautifully, think of Voivod's "Brain Scan" if it were less dissonant jazz chords and more melodic.

The only problem I have with the record is like Killing Technology, Human and Spheres, apart from one track the first half of the album is really lacking compared to the second half. Violent Change, Tyrants in Distress and Social Fears are more in the vein of NWOBHM, whilst this type of very early eighties heavy metal fantastic it simply gets left behind compared to the other tracks.

Highlights of the album are definitely Asylum with the river like main riff that proves the album will dominate right from the beginning. The ecstasy like drums of the title track and Argonne Forest battle for control of the song with the bass resulting in insane yet brilliant tracks. AND FUCKING MELTDOWN!!! Definitely the most thrashy song of the record and a fantastic way to finish.

Hallucinogenic - 99%

6CORPSE6GRINDER6, July 3rd, 2017

Watchtower is the best technical progressive thrash metal band of all time. Their musicianship and songwriting ability combine to paint futuristic sonic landscapes that are a class of their own, the sound of the band is unique. Technically you can hear lots of riffs and guitar lines that are pretty fast and hard to play, soloing is out of this world, even the bassist can play mind blowing leads. The drummer is a beast as well, his fills and breaks are very creative and he knows well how to use the cymbals to give the music different textures; even if drumming is extreme you can hear a slight jazz influence in slower passages. Vocalist’s clean and operatic voice can reach insanely high notes, sustain crazy vibratos and is always tuned. Details like this make this brand of old school thrash so refined, because it never stops being aggressive and mean despite all the virtuoso resources used. Released in 1987, this album is still amazing and relevant, it has aged very well because it was so ahead of its time.

They use standard tuned guitars and tempos that never fall into insane speeds like some crossover or hardcore influenced bands, but they put some fire in their galloping tempos that are still kind of fast. There's a strong traditional heavy metal influence as well, specially in the way everything is intended to sound epic. Riffing is fierce, intense and dark as well, technicality is just a tool to achieve new atmospheres based on the roots of heavy metal, not the end of the album. Because of the tuning and to blend with the extremely high pitched vocals, riffs are kind of high pitched too, they don't use the lower frets of the sixth string that much nor they play close to the pegbox. Chaotic and intriguing, dark with a mysterious edge: that's how I would describe Watchtower’s music in few words. The band's concept was totally well coined in this record, they wrote a thrash/speed metal piece like no other, developing their own style within a genre that accepts almost no modifications and often have a close minded audience.

Lyrically they deal with social issues: corruption, abuse of authority, unrest, mutual assured destruction, the kind of thing that was “in” back in the day. Production helps the record’s personality a lot. First, every instrument is legible 100% of the time. The balanced character of the mix let's you hear every detail, like the incredible guitar and bass solos; the latter exhibiting a bad ass tone with lots of mids and high mids to cut through the sound of the rest of the band and stand out, featuring a super heavy and solid body. The guitars' distortion on the other hand is thin and acid, sharp, raw. Very analog, very 80s. The cymbals, the bass drum and the snare sound very acoustic, mixed with reverb because they have a fair share of echoes, but the toms are electronic! You read that well, every tom stroke sounds digital, processed through some sort of distortion to make it sound digital and inhuman.

Few bands push the boundaries of a genre as far as they, this album being the proof. Not even 30 years after being released there aren’t lots of modern bands that reach this level of craftsmanship, being Vektor and Havok on their last album some examples. Energetic Disassembly could easily be the best album of the genre, I recommend it to everyone.

On a very different wavelength. - 90%

hells_unicorn, June 12th, 2012

One of the most predominant misconceptions about thrash metal is that it is rigid, limited, and doomed to the most tiresome orthodoxies of any of metal’s various sub-genres. It’s understandable that this fallacious view has gained a good amount of traction amongst many as the music media pushed 3 bands similarly rooted in NWOBHM tradition as being among the so-called Big 4, and all but surreptitiously snuck Slayer into the mix as a token nod to the darker side of the style that was pointing at the soon to emerge extreme scenes. Lost in the mix were a number of differing bands who were clearly influenced by these pioneers, but took their ideas in very different directions. But even less commonly noted save the well informed are the initial flukes in the thrash underground that basically defied all the stereotypes that were by 1985, just starting to really sink in.

Watchtower was arguably the most unique, and the most “out there” of any band that was playing around with the busy riffing, fast paced, hard and heavy style that Metallica and Slayer had brought into prominence a mere 2 years earlier. In many respects, their debut album “Energetic Disassembly” is similarly rooted in early 80s NWOBHM trappings to the earliest offerings of the two aforementioned bands. However, a lot of other things from that era which most thrash bands began moving away from have been kept, along with a good helping of the technically oriented, progressive rock sounds that preceded the surge of evil that had just left Britain for America. Shrieking high vocals, wandering bass lines that would make Geezer Butler do a double-take, and fill happy drum lines that border on jam band lines are just some of a host of sonic treats that probably had a good deal of influence on many tech. bands of today, perhaps most notably that of Cynic and Biomechanical.

But the two most auspicious things about this surprisingly brief and compact collection of songs are that they do turn out to be actual songs rather than convoluted compositions, and that it is truly underground in every sense of the word. Though pretty well put together for an independent label release, the production is pretty tinny and low-fi, exuding a sense of humility in spite of its heavily technical nature and sounding just a small distance from being a live recording minus the crowd noise. There is a very clear sense of song structure that finds a discernible verse and chorus relationship, often times sounding pretty close to the approach of Metal Church, with a few additional interlude sections and rhythmically intricate tricks. At times it gets about as free flowing and elaborate as a group of Rush songs, yet is sufficiently frenzied and chaotic enough to make Dark Angel’s somewhat under-developed debut sound extremely tame by comparison.

Perhaps this album not getting quite as much hype as its contemporaries until long after is a testimony to just how ahead of its time it ultimately was. Many would like to think that outwardly progressive outfits in the power metal scene like Fates Warning, Queensryche and Sacred Blade were really pushing the envelope, but compared to this they were much closer to the status quo heavy metal style of the time. Be this as it may, this album’s appeal probably doesn’t stretch very far into the more extreme fringes of the style where Sodom and Kreator are the general rule of the day. Even for progressive thrash revivalist fanatics who are really into the work of the innovative outfit that is Vektor would find it difficult to square the overtly 80s elements of this album holding near equal footing with the elaborate progressive formula it has been conformed to. It’s truly in a class by itself, and it will likely continue to be plagued by a limited audience.

Watchtower - Energetic Disassembly - 70%

ConorFynes, March 20th, 2012

At a time when 'being thrash' usually amounted to little more than playing fast and gurgling into a microphone, a band from Texas sought to change everything. Called by some to be the first prog metal album, and many more to be the first 'tech' metal album, Watchtower's debut 'Energetic Disassembly' was a piece of music on another level than virtually everything else that was calling itself heavy metal at the time. For that, this album can be considered one of those ahead-of-its-time classics. Indeed, the work here impresses, although there are some issues with the sound that would thankfully be worked out with the band's near-perfect sophomore 'Control & Resistance'.

Although Watchtower is best known for its later lineup of Alan Tecchio and Ron Jarzombek, the sound of Watchtower here is not any different. The music here is fast, blistering, ferociously technical, and overtly flirting with progressive structure. Even compared to today's thrash metal, Watchtower are fiercely technical performers. Billy White's style of riffage is rooted in the same thrash style as a band like Slayer, but there is much more activity within the passages, and it doesn't let up. Rick Cocaluca's drum work shows signs of jazz influence, but the sound of his set is booming. Doug Keyser's contribution with the bass is the most subtle of the instrumentalists, but it sports a technical prowess that almost parallels the guitars. And, of course, the vocals of Jason McMaster are here as well. Although he would be latter replaced by the superior Alan Tecchio (a dead-ringer for McMaster), Jason's high-pitched falsetto is a core trademark of the band. The way he belts his voice makes Watchtower a truly all-encompassing technical band. Although McMaster's vocals are undeniably powerful, the unrelenting high-pitched shriek can wear thin for me, and this is an issue I suspect many listeners will have when listening to 'Energetic Disassembly'.

The songwriting brilliantly incorporates the technical virtuosity of the band, but ultimately, the songs are not very distinct from each other, and it's not uncommon to feel a sense of deja vu within the second half of the album. As well, I cannot help but keep comparing 'Energetic Disassembly' to the band's second album 'Control & Resistance', and my awe of that one. To me, it feels like the band improved virtually every aspect of their sound with that one, from the replacement of vocalists, to more clearly defined songwriting, and the trademark guitar work of Ron Jarzombek. Here, some of the things I loved most about the second album had not yet been injected into the band's system, but the core elements of what make Watchtower so great are here in full. A great technical thrash album from a classic band.

WATCHTOWER! Way ahead of their time! - 98%

Insinneratorvokills, February 19th, 2012

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.

98%

Favorite tracks: Asylum, Energetic Disassembly, Cimmerian Shadows… ALL OF THEM!

IN THE BEGGINIG! - 89%

TexanCycoThrasher, March 15th, 2011

This is where it all began, Watchtower, Jason McMaster’s career, and progressive metal. It began in the Texan winter where four young, talented musicians assembled to create their offering to the metal world. An offering with insane jazz-time shifts, a shrieking banshee on the vocals and one of the best duos on the rhythm section. Yes my friends, this is Energetic Disassembly, the humble origins of several musicians and quite possibly one of the best tech-thrash albums to exist.

The real Achilles heal of the album is the recording and mixing. Now I digress, I do have a reissued copy (2009 Rockdome press, straight from McMaster), but the sound quality isn’t as good as it was on “Control & Resistance”, which was recorded under the wing of Noise records. The sound we have here is very thin and contains a great deal of echoes in the vocal department, but the bass is quite audible, so the situation isn’t as bad.

The album opens up with “Violent Change” a thrashing anthem, set at a moderate pace and featuring a nice little riff, also worth noting is the killer solo by Billy “Blanko” White. The chorus, like most tracks on this album, will stick with you for a while after you hear the song. The next track “Asylum” is a bit faster paced and has a killer bridge of McMaster’s wails harmonized with a mini-solo by White. The next track, “Tyrants in Distress”, which is easily one of the best songs on the album features a great plodding verse and a great chorus that will stick with you for a great deal of time (“TYRANTS! TYRANTS! TYRANTS! TYANTS IN DISTRESSSS!”) “Social Fears” follows up with a thumping bass line from bass virtuoso, Doug Keyser, which is swiftly followed up by one hell of a catchy guitar riff. Also worth noting is the short bass solo by Keyser after the chorus. After “Social Fears” we have the title track that is one of the speedier tracks of the album, but doesn’t stick out as much as the rest of the tracks on the album and features another bass solo from Keyser. The track does feature a catchy bridge about 1:30 into the song; the main thing that stands out about said bridge is Rick Colaluca’s drum work. Following up is “Argonne Forest” a midpaced tune retelling the story of the World War I battle; the song also features a catchy bridge with a high-pitched guitar line by White and is followed by a frantic solo, which speeds up the pace a bit. The next track, “Cimmerian Shadows” is another slower-paced song, that features lower pitched vocals when compared to the rest of the album. This song, like the title track is not too special when compared to the rest of the disk, and is a rather bland work. The final track, “Meltdown” is easily the best song of the album. The track is hyper fast, features quick time shifts, a chorus that you will never forget and an incredible solo.

After Energetic Disassembly, Watchtower fractured in half loosing Billy White, went on to join Dokken, and Jason McMaster, who played in many groups after his departure, namely Dangerous Toys. Rick Colaluca and Doug Keyser stuck with the band and hired S.A. Slayer guitarist Ron Jarzombek and for a short time Militia vocalist Mike Soliz, who was replaced by Hades vocalist Alan Tecchio. That line up went on to record the masterpiece “Control & Resistance” and then 21 years later the first new song “Size of the Matter”. Energetic Disassembly wasn’t the best thing Watchtower recorded but it was a stepping-stone for greater works by the band, and in it’s own right a great tech-thrash record-89%

No safe disposal for the screeching eccentricities - 70%

autothrall, December 28th, 2009

Watchtower were an impressive technical thrash band for their day, one of the few that could actually be labeled 'progressive' in the 80s field without much dissent. Though it was the less refined of their two full length efforts, you can imagine Energetic Disassembly was something of an anomaly for a year in which bands like Slayer, Anthrax and Possessed were still cutting their teeth. Even the arguable progressive metal contemporaries Fates Warning were still exploring their traditional metal phase at this point, so this album is simply far out there, thinking ahead of the pack.

Having praised its distinct nature, then, I must say that I really do not enjoy this debut entirely. For all its shrieking eccentricity, it often fails to immerse me or conjure up the masterful compositional skill of its successor. It's almost a drag to listen through, knowing that there are very few riffs here that catch my attention beyond their oddness and the obvious wealth of idea that went into them. Most of the tracks jerk and meander about without delivering so much as a compelling melody, and Jason McMaster's vocals range between intense heights and awkward foolishness. This is one of the albums in my collection which has actually grown more tiresome with each successive listen, but there is still enough here to appeal to that very small niche of the progressive thrash fan.

"Violent Change" starts with a few jarring riffs that groove alongside the drums of Rick Colaluca, while McMaster lets loose too quickly. The only part of the song I actually enjoyed is the driving bass and leadwork after 2:00, though McMaster emits a few cool shrieks later in the track and the thrashing begins to foreshadow Control and Resistance's tighter mechanism. "Asylum" does work it for awhile, as the drums and Doug Keyser's bass pop and shuffle through a nightmare scenario scored in shrieking; the lead here is also pretty intense, but the remainder of the riffs passed through me as if I wasn't even there. "Tyrants in Distress" has a more traditional metal edge to it, not unlike Helstar, and "Social Fears" a few decent, shrill warnings where the vocals join the deep thrashing of the verse.

And then follows the title track, which is a decent listen if only for the oodles of bass that anchor its progressive arrangement of thrashing fusion. "Argonne Forest" begin with some stop/start bass-driven pounding that flows into a chaotic verse thanks to McMaster's freakish presence, and there is a decent lead line. "Cimmerian Shadows" does a reasonable job of building mystique into a more traditional, melodic speed metal riff, and the closer "Meltdown" is possibly the most old school metal track on the album; aside from a few of the guitar chops, this could simply be a jammy, intense NWOBHM band.

The mix of the album feels a little sloppy to me, with the popping bass, siren-like wailing, crunchy guitars and the electronic drum fills that often bust through. But at least you can hear everything. The lyrics are suitably centered on the dynamics of both social injustices and their scientific application to the human psyche, with a slight not to fantasy, but they are quite well written and remain as interesting as the better riffs. At a few points, where the mix comes together, the album really does excel, and the reach does not exceed the grasp. Certainly it deserves mention for its novelty, and ambition, but I'd take their second album over this.

Highlights: Asylum, Social Fears Argonne Forest, Cimmerian Shadows

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

The one that started it all... - 97%

Alex_DeLarge, November 10th, 2009

One can easily claim this is the first tech-thrash album ever produced.
The year is 1985, and your average thrasher is hearing all sorts of brutal thrash starting to come at him, left right and center. Attempts at reforming Thrash at the time, usually concentrated on playing faster (Whiplash - Power & Pain), with more brutality (Possessed - Seven Churches) and more insanity ( Bathory - The Return... also see Necrodeath - The Shining Pentagram Demo with tracks such as Iconoclast is a great example, albeit rare..). This is where Watchtower steps in and says "well, wait a minute."

Jason McMaster and I quote: "In an industry of corporate cookie cutter commercial rock music with critics' high paid opinions, in super high dollar glossy magazines, the odds would certainly be against us." Indeed, they were. I mean just look at the cover of Poison's "Look What The Cat Dragged In"... holy shit. This band is Texan, and if somebody told you that bands who dub in technical-thrash/jazz/speed/metal would be easily heard at a Texas radio station at the time, somebody lied. Watchtower had to fight through the underground and rise on the lists of the "dirtsheets". Did they make it? Well, this is 2009 and I'm reviewing Energetic Disassembly, so what do you think?

What does the first attempt at technical Thrash metal sound like? To quote a magazine of the time: "imagine that Jimi Hendrix had actually joined E.L.P, and then Neil Peart and Stanley Clarke joined them and dropped the keyboards and.. ARGHHHH!" This is an actual quote - notice the frustration of the writer as he finds it difficult to describe the sound Watchtower emerged with. I'd say the music is based around a Thrash-jazz fusion with the influences of both genres being obvious especially in the structures and the insane bass. It's also highly unpredictable... the first second they're riffing along and before you know it they've dropped in a blazing solo, without a buildup, without a drum fill.

McMaster's vocal insanity is clearly influenced by the legends he has cited as an influence countless times. Namely: Rob Halford, Geddy Lee, Paul DiAnno and Bruce Dickinson. They're mostly high-pitched, whiny (a tribute to the screamers they love) and downright annoying for the people who have no tolerance for screams and falsettos.

The drummer is versatile and relatively unpredictable. Riffing is clearly on the Thrash side. It is complicated and often complimented by the Bass playing which is unusually high in the mix, unlike some other 1985 releases and at all times discernible. Thrash isn't really renowned for producing bass legends (with the possible exception of Steve DiGiorgio of the lethal SADUS), but the bassist here supports a lot of the weight of the album. The riffing is intoxicating, especially in tracks like "Asylum" and strangely enough it manages to maintain its standard of complexity without compromising any of its catchyness.

The lyrical themes revolve around important aspects and problems that seemed to concern a lot of people at the time. War, defiling of the environment, social "norms" and of course nuclear holocaust. The very title of the album is a government term for the detonation of a nuclear warhead.

The highlights of the album are probably the riffs in "Cimmerian Shadows", the riffs and solo of "Tyrants In Distress" and the headbang-fest that is "Meltdown". The top three all-round best songs on here are probably the title track, "Cimmerian Shadows" and "Asylum". But even those I fell are only just a slight notch above the rest, so do yourself a favor and get your hands on an original copy of this as soon as possible.

(Originally written for RYM)

Watchtower-Energetic Disassembly - 88%

warrior_of_disease, March 15th, 2008

This album is really good though, in my opinion, not quite as unique or memorable as their next album "Control and Resistance". That being said, this album is still a very unique tech-metal offering which I believe at the time of it's release was considered very bizarre in the world of metal. Billy White gives a solid very metal performance. His style is a little more straight forward than their next guitarist, Ron. Jason McMaster is a great vocalist although I wouldn't say he is a superb singer with a knack for melody. His high-pitched shreiky vocals are among some of the best I've heard this side of King Diamond (though he certainly isn't operatic). However, his lower more talky vocals leave quite a lot to be desired in comparison. Jason left this amazing band to join the completely forgettable cock-rock band Dangerous Toys. SMART MOVE, EINSTEIN! He still is pretty damn good on this album though. The rest of the band (the ones who stuck around for the next album) are great too! Doug Keyser is such a godley bassist and he's quite prominent in the mix. He often plays even more technically than Billy. It's pretty strange in metal for the bassist to out-tech the guitarist but here you have it. Rick Colaluca maybe the best drummer I've ever heard besides maybe Neil Peart though there is more proof of that in the later album. The electronic toms sound very dated and the kick is not triggered which isn't desirable for me though it's not bad and still very punchy. Rick's playing is on point though which definitely makes up for the production pitfalls.

The production is actually not bad and sounds decent for the time it was recorded. The guitars I suppose could be louder and the vocals could've been brought down but other than that, it sounds pretty good. I see that a lot of people consider this to be thrash. I don't. I also don't really consider it to be progressive. Just because it's technical, doesn't mean it's progressive. I just consider it tech-metal. I believe the stand-out tracks are "Asylum", "Meltdown", and "Energetic Disassembly". The other songs are good. I just don't feel they are as good as those three. For anyone who likes metal and musical talent and doesn't mind high-pitched vocals, this is a must have!

A nice pioneering technical album - 87%

sodometal, May 17th, 2007

Energetic Disassembly typically reflects its era through its production, though the musicality is ahead of its time. You can find many elements in the music like progressive, heavy and even thrash. The sound is weak as a mono recording. Imagine a Sabbat album with thinner vocals and less thrashy influences.

The guitar sound is very weak too and since only one guitar is used, in solo parts you can feel the emptiness in the background. The solo parts are played cool yet the sound is much distorted. Keeping in mind that there’s only one guitar, the bass guitar is not enough to compensate the gap though played well and satisfactorily.

Jason McMaster sings mostly in screams. In those scream parts Axl Rose, James Rivera and Geoff Tate come to my mind. I later realized that he is the vocalist of Dangerous Toys (one of my favourite bands). The vocals have the echo effect but not the kind that creates an atmosphere (Anyhow, the album is not at all atmospheric though progressive). It just sounds as if he’s singing in a large room without any carpets or furniture.

The drums are so ultra-technical and progressive that you have to focus on the music to understand the beats and the rhythms. There are many hi-hat and cymbal tricks that give you a hangover when concentrated upon.

The album must be kept in the collection. Its biggest downside is the production but the release year will make you overlook it. This is also a very good start for a band considering that it is the debut album.

Greatest. Tech-thrash. Album. EVER!!! - 91%

UltraBoris, December 23rd, 2002

Where do you go to find an album that blows your fucking head off with the strangest damn compositions this side of Atheist, while managing to ROCK like no other with solid thrash riff work? This album is truly unique in that it bridges the two so successfully. It remains catchy while being totally off-kilter in so many ways. Imagine Toxik, that's maybe the best comparison in the vocals, and the riff out-thereness is like that too, times 100.

The sound of the album is pretty interesting, in that it may have pioneered that sound that pervades many "tech" bands nowadays, with the prominent bass sound that does not follow the guitar but rather complements it... see Cynic for the greatest example of this - also some later-era Death albums. But this is far catchier than either of those bands - this one just flat out fucking rocks. For example, check out the verses of "Meltdown" with that nice headbanging riff, with the crazy-ass drums underneath it. Call it technical, but first of all call it THRASH!!! That's probably the most straightforward song on here. See Argonne Forest for something a bit more out there.

Highlights? All of them! If you want an idea of what this album sounds like, go to the official site and download the tracks there. I believe they have the title track, which may very well be the best song on here, though Tyrants in Distress has some fucking monstrous riff chains, as does Cimmerian Shadows. Damn, they all do! It's 42 minutes of "whoa holy fuck where did THAT come from?" You will be banging your head while scratching your head. And rubbing your stomach. While walking. And chewing bubble gum. With scissors. COMPLICATED!!!