The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Watchtower – Energetic Disassembly (1985)

with 5 comments

I remember clearly the first time I saw this on cassette.  It was at the Music Man at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk, VA.  WATCHThe cover was upside down as compared to how the majority of cassette j-cards were printed.  It always struck me as odd but I always felt it was intentional, especially after listening to this album at least 100 times since I first heard it.  It certainly turned my mind upside down several times.

My friends and I were pretty shocked by this one.  Most of us were into thrash ala Overkill’s Feel the Fire, Anthrax, Testament etc…but this was something different.  Something special even.

The album opens with a frenetic frantic pace with crazy guitar riffs, insane bass lines and hyperactive drumming.  They don’t stop until the end of the album.  Mix all of this with Jason McMaster’s incredible vocals that cut through all of this madness and you have a perfect technical thrash album…perhaps the first truly technical thrash album.  Some may debate that one but for me, this is the first.

While I love every song on this album, my absolute favorites are Tyrants In Distress, Violent Change, Meltdown and Argonne Forest.  The whole band really seems to just be together and well-rehearsed.  Billy White (f. Don Dokken), Doug Keyser and Rick Colaluca just flat out lay it down on this album.  Period.

I still don’t feel that this album gets enough respect although some of the major metal players loved them such as Chuck Schuldiner (RIP) and Dream Theater.  Watchtower set the standard early for technical metal.  Their popularity is Europe still seems to be pretty strong as I believe they’re playing one of the Euro-Metal fests in 2010.  It seems that they are still pretty huge in Greece.

While Control and Resistance was a good follow-up and was partially written by Billy White, a lot changed in their sound.  Ron Jarzombek (Spastic Ink) and Allan Tecchio (Hades, Non-Fiction) do a fine job, but the loss of Jason McMaster and Billy White took them down a slightly different progressive thrash metal path.  Both albums are certainly worth owning, but I have always preferred the debut.

Watchtower is in the studio recording a new album with McMaster on vocals (!!!) and I can’t wait to hear the whole thing.  Hopefully I’ll finally get to see them live.

Living here in Austin, TX now, it is great to see how much that band is loved and respected around here.  It gives me a warm tingly feeling.  It’s also pretty incredible for me to have McMaster in my Motorhead tribute band.  He’s a talented musician all the way around and bring a lot of energy to the band on rhythm guitar and backing vocals.  Certainly one of my musical idols.

If you don’t own Energetic Disassembly and you like thrash, prog-metal, RUSH on steroids, you need to own this one.

Just do it.

“Breakdown, warning – Nuclear nightmare, reality”

5 Responses

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  1. rock forever

    rock music

    November 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm

  2. yes – nice post. I am with you on this one.

    WATCHTOWER always “towered” above all of the other indie metal bands at the time for me. their technical prowess was nothing short of phenom.

    So they are recording new material – cool!

    *I think I have some demos and or live tapes floating around Demolish HQ somewhere.

    Did you ever check out TOXIK? I think they pretty much used Watchtower as a blue print and did some cool things as well with that sound.

    Rock on!

    Curt King


    January 14, 2010 at 4:24 pm

  3. They are recording again but McMaster is not going to be part of it unfortunately. Alan Tecchio is allegedly back in the fold.

    I loved Toxik! Especially the first one.

    Sean (The Metal Files)

    January 14, 2010 at 6:38 pm

  4. oh well, something is better than NOTHING I guess…

    I have a TOXIK intervew/feature to be posted one day.

    I like some of the HADES stuff too. If at first… etc. I think I have some NON FICTION too. Remember them – post HADES?




    January 14, 2010 at 6:52 pm

  5. I liked those first 2 Non-Fiction albums a lot. Was supposed to see them with Overkill back in 93(?) and got in a wreck on the way. I tried to go see the reunion show in November but ended up going to LA to see Warrior.

    Sean (The Metal Files)

    January 14, 2010 at 6:55 pm

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