Watchtower's debut is generally considered to be the recording most responsible for the development of the progressive metal genre. Full of complex time changes, breakneck tempos, and wailing solos, Energetic Disassembly remains an impressive but difficult listen. The falsetto vocals of Jason McMaster and electronic drumming of Rick Colaluca date the session and the production quality is less than average. Around the time of this release in 1986, the band's popularity grew mostly from tape-trading among fans. Ironically, a decade later this recording's renewed interest was once again attributable to trading, this time in the form of mp3s over the Internet. A fresh listen reveals that Energetic Disassembly set the bar for complexity and technique for all who followed, including future prog metal legends such as Dream Theater and Fates Warning. While it may not be as consistent as Control and Resistance, fans of truly progressive metal are encouraged to do their homework and check out one of the genre's cornerstone recordings.
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AllMusic Review by Robert Taylor