It seems as if I’ve spent much of my time lately on finally diving into bands with which I’ve had my reservations in the past. It happened with Voyager and now it’s happening with The Night Watch. Like the aforementioned Australian band, The Night Watch play progressive rock/metal but from an entirely different perspective; an instrumental band, they add strings, deep bass, and dynamic drums to create a folk-y feeling to their music. It’s not your standard fair “dark woods filled with fog” kind of folk influence either, the one that’s so often prevalent in metal. Instead, it has a more twingy, troubadour feel to it, of an inn room dancing to the sounds of a fiddle rather than a cult sacrificing flesh to dark, frozen gods.
The thing is, their music was always good but I felt like there was some cohesiveness missing there to really grab me by the throat. Thankfully, it appears as if the band have doubled down on their efforts and brought forth their upcoming album, An Embarrassment of Riches. As “Shanamiac”, the single from the album which we’re premiering today, will undoubtedly show you, An Embarrassment of Riches is nothing less than the promise of The Night Watch fulfilled. Everything, from mournful string, through prominent bass and all the way to the chuggy riffs that puncture the track every so often, has been elevated to the highest degree. The result is a rich, complex, and beguiling the track that, nonetheless, manages to keep your attention throughout its run time.
Listen to six minutes in for example; after a lifting passages, everything gets scaled back to give the violin some time to shine alongside the guitar. Quickly enough though, the instruments come crashing back in, with god-damn blastbeats of all things scoring the background of the agile riffs. These heavier sounds are explored for a while before simmering back down into a scintillating passage which explores the softer side of the ideas presented, filled with wonder and an irresistible sense of enchantment. All of this only culminates in another heavy passage, which leads us to the outro for the track and it’s ending.
By the time it arrives, we are left breathless, barraged by the transitions, sounds and ideas which came before. This encapsulates the album in a nutshell; it does so much but, better than any previous The Night Watch release, maintains a sense of direction and cohesion that keeps us engaged. The album releases on November 15th (independently by the way; support independent artists!) and you can pre-order it right here. If you’re a fan of progressive music to any capacity, I suggest you do.