Watchtower - Concepts Of Math: Book One album review

Raw, virtuosic prog metal power from Texan vets Watchtower's stop-gap comp

Watchtower - Concepts Of Math: Book One album cover

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As fans continue to twiddle their thumbs in anticipation of the bona fide follow-up to 1989 masterpiece Control And Resistance, the Texan virtuosos have kindly brought together the four digital singles they’ve released since reforming in 2010, with one brand new track to allay fears that the full album is destined to never emerge.

Ron Jarzombek’s unerring knack for writing insanely complex music that still manages to be dynamic and memorable is in evidence throughout this frequently bewildering 29 minutes of prog metal extremity: Arguments Against Design celebrates Watchtower’s roots in the 80s thrash scene and the pioneering progginess that made them such a primary influence for bands like Cynic, Atheist and Gorguts.

Similarly, The Size Of Matter makes no bones about its metallic intentions, but, as always, Jarzombek’s jazz-tinged dexterity makes everything sound like it’s being beamed back through time from some gleaming futuristic Utopia. It’s new song Mathematica Calculis that seals the deal, however. 10 minutes of untamed but artful showmanship, underpinned by irresistible grooves and acres of swing, it’s proof that Watchtower only have to turn up to set the prog metal rulebook ablaze.

Chris Cope

A writer for Prog magazine since 2014, armed with a particular taste for the darker side of rock. The dayjob is local news, so writing about the music on the side keeps things exciting - especially when Chris is based in the wild norths of Scotland. Previous bylines include national newspapers and magazines.