Watchtower – Concepts of Math: Book One (Prosthetic)

Tuesday, 8th November 2016
Rating: 8.5/10

Perhaps the utter definition of a “What could have been?” band, Watchtower very easily could have been the more complicated complement to Dream Theater in the ‘90s. The band’s 1989 Control and Resistance was an instant classic, the wry combination of helium-soaked vocals, ridiculous guitar playing, and warped song arrangements. It was thrash for mathematicians, basically. But a serious hand injury to guitarist Ron Jarzombek put the brakes on the proposed follow-up to Control and Resistance in the early ‘90s. Singer Alan Tecchio left shortly thereafter, and Watchtower would spend an inordinate amount of time spinning its wheels while its members pursued outside projects.

Casual, one-off reunions and the 2010 release of “The Size of Matter” single suggested Watchtower still had the inclination of releasing new material. Concepts of Math: Book One finally answers the bell. A collection of four digital singles plus an as-yet-released song (“Mathematics Calculis”), Concepts of Math: Book One remarkably finds Watchtower in stride. The acrobatic, finger-defying playing of Jarzombek remains the foundation of the band’s sound, with the man turning in some real conniving motifs on “M-Theory Overture” and “Technology Inaction,” where his quick guitar diddles take charge. Tecchio is no longer tasked with having to hit high notes in every breath, although he’s pretty sky-high on “The Size of Matter.”

Given the occasionally volatility of Watchtower’s lineup, a release like Concepts of Math: Book One should be clung to for dear life. It’s imminently satisfying; the caustic reminder of how deadly (if you will) Watchtower can be when all four members are on the same page. Let’s hope Book Two doesn’t take a generation to be released.

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