New Keepers of the Water Towers
4th March 2016 – Listenable Records
01. The Forever War
02. Tracks Over Carcosa
03. Tachyon Deep
04. Misantropin Kallar
05. Escape Aleph Minor
07. This Infernal Machine
New Keepers of the Water Towers: a mouthful of a name for a band, and one that gives almost no indication as to what they might sound like. Their last record, Cosmic Child, was a towering behemoth of spacey prog psychedelia, and new offering Infernal Machine seems to follow a similar path, blending doom, psychedelic, and progressive metal – the key difference is that Infernal Machine feels less astral and more like traveling across some strange desert on a distant world at night, surrounded by arcane and broken technology. It’s a truly wonderful listen.
Opening track “The Forever War” sets the mood with electronic beeping and a cinematic swathe before descending into guitars and pounding drums. Strange vocals wind their way through the alien vista along with weird, metallic screeches that descend into fuzz, feeling like that soundtrack to a movie like Forbidden Planet. It’s a precedent set for the album’s remaining songs; each with slight variations to keep the album from getting repetitive. “Tachyon Deep” has a sort of Porcupine Tree vibe going on, which is always welcomed in these parts.
Tor Sjödén‘s drumming is excellent; used to build tension in spots, such as halfway through the title track, it lends a wandering, nomadic feel to the album. He builds a solid base off which the band build, and his arrangements on the kit do wonders for the atmosphere of the songs. In fact, the drumming is perhaps the most important element to this entire experience, tying all the compositions together and keeping them from going too far into abstraction and repetition. Meanwhile, the vocals are a fun element, taking from the “Planet Caravan” school of processing: using a rotary effect to create a nice spacey sort of feeling.
In short: listen to this album. Now. New Keepers of the Water Towers are a special band that build a powerful story, fusing lumbering psychedelic doom and alien mechanical progressive rock; imagine Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” but more lumbering and malignant. Truly mammoth songs like “The Forever War”, “Jorden” and the epic title track should take their place in the psych prog pantheon.
It’s definitely something that you have to be in the right mood for, but when you’re in that right mood, Infernal Machine is absolutely top notch and recommended for anyone wanting their doom that little bit more progressive.