Watchtower Gets Mathematical

Black Friday has come and gone, leaving in its wake (sort of) emptied stores, holiday gift lists partially completed, and plenty of vinyl-philes happy. While the Record Store Day Black Friday list was expansive and rocking, there were plenty of releases that were as exceptional (perhaps even more so one could argue). One of those is Watchtower‘s Concepts of Math: Book One

The progressive metal quartet’s second EP (after reuniting) is full of sweep picking and pummeling drums, shredding rhythms and power vocals. Concepts of Math: Book One will hook any metalhead and hold them through its five tracks. Beginning with the “M-theory Overture,” the album promises to be a feast of instrumental harmonies, mathematical time changes, and grueling riffs. “M-theory Overture” bubbles with the energy perfect for prog metal–not noisy but definitely full of sound.

From this initial track, Watchtower continues their aural onslaught with track after track of progressive metal gold. Whether it’s the bass noodling of “Arguments Against Design” or the soaring vocals of “Technology Inaction,” Concepts of Math: Book One burns without consuming itself in its infernal flames. Brimming with power, The EP is perfect for fans of quick and clean guitar work that constantly contorts through its parts.

And when it comes to contortions, there is no track as contorted as “The Size of Matter.” Collaging long and complex riffs, Watchtower manages to keep things in order. The track’s instrumentals never seem to repeat; instead they build and complicate their parts at every turn. “The Size of Matter” unfolds as a song that is incapable of sitting still–once a pattern is discovered, it is quickly thrown away for a more nuanced one. The result is a sound that continues to grow as the track rotates in its grooves.

Concepts of Math: Book One, from start to finish, is an instant classic of progressive metal. Full of odd associations and instrumental drifts, the EP shows that Watchtower not only can craft a riff but can do so time and time again. Powerful and in constant motion, the EP is perfect for any fan of complex and ever shifting metal. While the band has released albums in the mid 80s, none of them sound as completed, as realized as this latest EP. Concepts of Math: Book One is short opus, a 30 minute kick in the teeth–all of it pure genius.

The EP ends with the near 10 minute epic, “Mathematica Calculis.” The churning cauldron of sound that is this final track brings the album to a close perfectly. Melding together pieces of Rush, Between The Buried and Me, and King Crimson, “Mathematica Calculis” is a journey down a musical rabbit hole that every audiophile should take.

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