Best of 2016: Alan Tecchio of WatchTower

WatchTower was formed in 1982 in Austin, Texas, and has been hailed as the first jazz inspired progressive metal band. In fact Control and Resistance is often hailed as the benchmark for progressive metal and has influenced a countless number of heavy, technical bands.
Over the years the group has gone through line-up changes, break-ups and hiatuses though the individual members have always kept themselves in the public eye. Jarzombek through his Spastic Ink and Blotted Science projects has established himself as one of the most respected guitar players in the scene. Tecchio has fronted Hades and Non Fiction as well as sang for Seven Witches throughout the years. His vocal range and style is unrivaled. Drummer, Rick Colaluca has been name checked consistently by the likes of Gene Hoglan and Mike Portnoy among many other drummers. Bass player Doug Keyser has an impressive list of band’s who’ve asked him to audition for them (Metallica, being one) while still being cited as a major influence from a younger generation of four-string players.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Alan Tecchio to ask about some 2016 releases that impressed him. This is what he told us.
1- Anthrax,  For All Kings
I have always loved these guys through all of their various eras and lineups, but this release brings much of their old skool style back into their sound.
2- Deftones, Gore
I got a bit bored with some of this band’s stuff a few releases ago but this one got me rejuvenated and back into them. Nice job guys breaking down genres and keeping your sound fresh!
3- Megadeth, Dystopia
The trendsetting sounds of Dave and Co. may have become a bit lost at times during their career but the band has been reinvigorated with this 2016 release. God bless Megadeth! I’ve loved them from the start and they are now back delivering the goods just like in the old days.
4- Watchtower, Concepts of Math Book 1
Selfishly I have to put this one on the list as I and many others simply never thought it would ever see the light of day. I am determined to get the rest of the Mathematics songs out as well to complete Book 2 but that will certainly take some time… Fingers crossed!!!!
5- Symphony X, Underworld
Well, I am biased here as well since I play with SX’s bass player Mike LePond in his solo band Silent Assassins. That said, this release is friggin amazing! Head honcho guitarist Michael Romeo is a pure genius (and a great guy too!) but he outdid himself with this one. I saw the band live a week ago in NYC and they blew the Gramercy Theatre into oblivion.
6- Flotsam and Jetsam, self-titled
When I was in Hades we played a bunch of shows with these guys back in the late ’80s and they were awesome back then. Happy to report they are still super amazing and with the addition of Jason Bittner on drums, they are even better than back then.
7- Hatebreed, The Concrete Confessional
This release may be short, clocking in at only 33 minutes but Hatebreed have always gotten a lot of great stuff done in a short amount of time. Their upbeat, anthemic metal/hardcore fusion has never been as on point as it is with The Concrete Confessional.
8- Phantogram, Three
Though it’s definitely not metal, these guys fully hypnotize me with their sound. I got into them after randomly discovering them on the Showtime show “Roadies” I can’t get enough of their sonic creations.
9- Killswitch Engage, Incarnate
Glad to see these guys back with original singer Jesse Leach although this is his second release with them since he rejoined the band in 2012. Delivering their staple metal core sound that’s both catchy and blistering at the same time, Incarnate is a killer piece from a band that set the bar long ago for all who would follow in their footsteps.
10- Dream Theater, The Astonishing
Concept records are hard to pull off, but aside from the flying orbs that are way too similar (to me) to the flying orbs in the film Oblivion, this release satisfies on a number of levels. There are a few too many mellow parts in here for my taste but the heavy stuff is undeniable and guitarist John Petrucci is certainly at the top of his game on this one.
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