The Watch - Seven

(CD 2017, 47:30, Pick Up Records)

The tracks:
  1- Blackest Deeds(5:49)
  2- Disappearing Act(6:33)
  3- Masks(6:23)
  4- Copycat(6:16)
  5- It's Only A Dream(3:24)
  6- Tightrope(7:14)
  7- The Hermit(3:54)
  8- After The Blast(7:51)

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Although the Italian progressive rock act The Watch does tribute shows of one of the best progressive rock bands ever, Genesis, they manage to release every three years an album with songs mainly written by themselves. Seven is their latest one and the successor of Tracks From The Alps (2014). The album was recorded in the line up which also recorded their predecessor. Meaning we can hear contributions of Giorgio Gabriel (electric guitars, 6-12 strings acoustic guitars, classical guitar), Valerio De Vittorio (keyboards, Hammond L122 organ and synthesizers), Simone Rossetti (vocals, Mellotron, synthesizers, flute), Mattia Rossetti (bass guitars, bass pedals, 6-12 electric guitars, vocals) and Marco Fabbri (drums and percussions).

For obvious reasons the band named the new album Seven. On the one hand we are dealing with album number 7 by the band since they named themselves The Watch. On the other hand, this album follows a concept of the 7 planets. And thirdly if you leave out, The Hermit, a song written by Steve Hackett and coming from his outstanding solo debut album Voyage Of Acolyte (1975), you have seven remaining songs written by the band.

Of course the music on this release is the most important , but first I'll have to mention to those who are not familiar with the band that they releases albums on which you can find compositions influenced by Genesis albums from the seventies. I am referring to the albums Trespass (1970), Nursery Cryme (1971), Foxtrot (1972) or Selling England By The Pound (1973). Again you can conclude that Genesis was an inspiration to the band during the writing and recording of this album. Not that I would call them copy cats, strangely enough one of the tracks has the title Copycat, because the musicians have enough input of themselves to give the songs a twist and bring them to the musical world we live in today!

Right from the start with the opening tune Blackest Deeds the band kick's ass. This is an excellent up tempo piece which brings you back to the seventies music wise. Another excellent up tempo piece is the closing track After The Blast. In between these two enough variety in the compositions makes it possible to have a pleasant listening session throughout the entire album. The sound of the Mellotron and Hammond organ are often heard, also several great guitar and synthesizer solos, all done the best way possible. The vocals of Simone Rossetti fit perfectly and no accent can be heard at all. Bravo! I will not go deeper into the tracks separately but it is good to hear that they managed to come up with a fine balance between up tempo songs and more mellow compositions. I already mentioned a couple of songs which have more fast rhythm section parts. Therefore I will mention some titles in which the same rhythm section is taken slower. Just listen to Disappearing Act, It's Only A Dream and the earlier mention Hackett cover. On The Hermit you can hear the maestro himself on acoustic guitar. The lead guitar parts, which are not on the original version, are wonderfully done by the bands own guitarist Giorgio Gabriel.

Overall, it can be said that the band again managed to come up with another strong album on which we hear elegant, progressive rock moments with floating guitar sounds and beautiful keyboard dynamics, over which the very striking voice of the front man sits. This is tastefully and confidently arranged and has most of all a very nostalgic charm. Thanks to a carefully woven sound update, however, the music never gets outdated and can be loved by those who love the music of our beloved genre made in the seventies and nowadays

**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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