METAL DIGGER 2: WATCHTOWER
Reviewing the discography of legendary bands, we thought of opening Metal Digger, a new section to remember those glories that contributed to the past sounds and that for various circumstances have been forgotten or were not so popularly known in some places on the planet. Big bandS with excellent musicians, who one day came to the top or not so much and our memory has forgotten. So, if our readers also want to collaborate in the construction of this thread of articles with their memories, they are welcome.
It is also an attempt to bring curiosity on "new" metalheads, or at least make them raise an eyebrow for a while, when they listen to these amazing groups. In front of each album´s name you will see a rating number according to our opinion.
By: Atahualpa- Hummingbird Press Greece
Immerse yourself in the past... In this second article we will remember WATCHTOWER.
Country : U.S.A.
Original Year : 1982
Genre : Progressive / Techincal Thrash
WATCHTOWER was formed in in Austin, Texas. The first line up of the band was :
Travis Allen - vocals
Billy White - guitars
Rick Colaluca - drums
Doug Keyser - bass guitar
First time the band recorded the song "Meltdown", back in 1993. The song included to the compilation "Cottage cheese from the lips of death - A Texas hardcore compilation" . Their debut album appeared two years later, under the title "Energetic disassembly" (7,5) .At that time the band has changed their line up. Travis Allen left the band and was replaced by Jason McMaster. The album was self financed and released under their own label, Zombo records. The style was a strange mix from the band member's influences: RUSH mostly and other experimental, hard Progressive bands of the 70's, combined with the new Speed/Thrash sound. High speed, complicated riffs and soli, and extremely high tone vocals composed this new genre (which is gonna be followed by many bands, mostly at the end of the 80's and early 90's). The compositions were in a high level, the band members followed note by note every composition and everything worked as a scientific experiment. All the songs were written by Doug Keyser and the thematic "touched" political and social issues with songs like "Violent change " , "Tyrants of distress" and "Social fear", they made clear their point.
The next year started with the exit of the guitarist Billy White, to form his own band. He was replaced by very talented, Ron Jarzombek. They recorded a demo and an EP album (Instruments of Random Murder),in their own label in 1987. The line up wasn´t going to remain the same for long as next year Jason McMaster was about to leave the band. In his position Alan Tecchio (ex- Hades) came to replace McMaster. A year later WATCHTOWER signed a contract with Noise records. The band moved to Germany and recorded the masterpiece, "Control and resistance" (9). The line up then was :
Alan Tecchio - vocals
Ron Jarzombek - guitars
Doug Keyser - bass guitar
Rick Colaluca - drums
Two of the previous EP's songs (Instrument of Random Murder , The Eldritch) were included in this new album. Some other songs also appeared on different versions in the past (like Hidden Instincts under the previous name Plastic Lasagna, or Dangerous Toy that appeared into the compilation "Doomsday news 2" and was sang by Mike Soliz). The songs were composed both by Keyser and Jarzombek. The level of compositions were still high. The album contained complex melodies, high tone vocals (and even better technique by Tecchio), a much better production and clear sound than the previous album, and the charismatic Jarzombek gave here a "guitar seminar" with his ideas and melodies. The whole band seemed to be in great shape because, except for the compositions, the level of executing was really difficult. They "drove" the term "Progressive" into more experimental and intellectual ways. Their high technique didn't "lower" their Heavy sound and still could be called a "Tech / Speed Thrash" band.
In 1990 they had their first and last European tour (together with CORONER) and a few shows in the USA. Alan Tecchio left the band at this point and their try to replace him seemed an unsolved problem. At the same time Jarzombek had problems with his hand, followed with many surgeries which didn't allow him to play for a long time. Keyser and Colaluta set a new funk/rap band (RETARDED ELF) and left the band to go on a hiatus. Ron Jarzombek made his own band (SPASTIK INK), following the same Progressive style of WATCHTOWER and released an album in 1997. At that time there weren´t any signs the band members would play together again.
Twelve years later (and completely unexpectetly) a compilation appeared. Most of the songs came from old demos and some other just were old rehearsals. The title was "Demonstration in Chaos" and was released by Monster records. The decade finished with a one song single in 2010 "The Size of Matter". The band appeared with the line up of "Control and Resistance" album. Allan Tecchio was back and the rest of the members left their side projects to play together. The song was a modernized "Watchtower"´s old version with high speed rythm, 90's guitar soli but with the absence of the high tone vocals. After the single, Tecchio left the band once more. The project of the 3rd album (which was planned from the early 90's and called "Mathematics"), had to be postponed.
Future is really unpredictable and for WATCHTOWER's case it´s truer than ever. Five years after their last recording, the "original" line up re-united and recorded 4 new songs. Each track was released on different dates. On October 2016 the band collected all these songs, added an extra composition (Mathematica Calculis) and gathered them under the title "Concept of Math : Book one" (8) which was recorded for Prosthetic records. Despite the years have passed, WATCHTOWER members remained great musicians. Ron Jarzombek "designed" colorful fields with his guitar, the rhythm section "worked" perfectly and the compositions kept their high level of difficulty. Tecchio's voice has obviously been "touched" by time but as a much more mature singer now, he knows how to use his voice without overreacting.
If anyone in this world wants to get to know how "Progressive Metal" started, he has to follow WATCHTOWER. If any "guitar hero" wants to know what "experimental and clinical" plays mean, he should see how Jarzombek plays. If there are still fans who love complex melodies and technical performances, they have to be taught by these gentlemen. Shut up and open your ears!!!!!
ENERGETIC DISASSEMBLY (1985)
CONTROL AND RESISTANTE (1989)
CONCEPT OF MATH: BOOK ONE (2016)