Though having graced music for ten years, the just released album Sleepwalk from Watertank is their long awaited debut full length and a monster of a release it is too. As rhythmically and dynamically intrusive as it is melodically addictive and compelling, the thirteen track album from the French quintet is a masterful conjuror of pure addiction. With muscles and intensity which ensures an intimidation of the emotions from their powerful and potent force and equally a lover’s seduction at times from a mellow resonance which is mesmeric enough to calm a raging beast, the album is a passion instigator of the purest temptation.
Formed in 2003 and hailing from Nantes, Watertank has earned strong and eager acclaim with their live presence which has seen them play alongside the likes of Torche, Kylesa, Baroness, Capricorns, Lair Of The Minotaur, and The Ocean. The EP Sub in 2004 sets things off recording wise but it was with the following six track EP Fairy Crimes five years later that there was a concentrated wider attention bred around the band. Such its appeal and the continuing strength of sound and live shows from the band, that the anticipation for their first album has arguably outstripped the hunger for most others.
The Solar Flare Records released album immediately starts gnawing on the senses with the heavy ravenous riffs of Where It All Begins. It is a towering presence with crisp rhythms matching the intimidation of the guitars and bass whilst weaving in between the excellent melodic vocals of Thomas B. caress the wounds. With a laboured sludge gait and rasping intensity the brief but heavy track opens up the ear and beyond to the suggestion of something major impending, an assumption soon realised through the likes of Giant Heads and Pro Crook. The first of the pair is a noise rock sculpted engagement with teasing sonic grooves and pulsating cavernous bass riffs whilst again the excellent vocals and harmonies press their advantage home with ease and expressive craft. The second of the songs again steadily chews upon the psyche with carnivorous riffs from bassist Vincent A. and enterprising and equally scarring guitar invention from Bojan A. and Julien G. Riding a core of post hardcore and melodic rock with a doom seeded spine, the lure of the song is total and magnetic, as is the album to this point.
There are only highlights upon Sleepwalk to be honest but at times it just excites beyond legal allowances such as with Fear Over The City. A metronomic beckoning of its percussive finger leads in riffs which are prime bestiality, their snarling seduction joined and elevated by the following caustic and twisting guitar invention all framed by the punchy beats of Jocelyn L. With a groove as insidious as it is contagious and a raw squalling edge to the vocals, the track is a brute of a track, its sinews flexing at every turn and sonic abrasion igniting the passions.
The likes of the fiery Ants In Suits with its stoner/melodic rock presence holding aloud whispers of bands such as Alice In Chains and Quicksand, and the riveting title track with its wonderfully infectious yet niggling sonic scythes of sound within another stoner/grunge flavoured expanse, only cement and push on the strength of the release whilst How Fast recruits the passions with its uncomplicated yet carefully involved persuasion. Within this clutch of songs is another pair of the loftiest pinnacles upon the album, Far From Low and Holy Tranquilizer. The first is a thrilling heavy rock soaked encounter with more than a Thin Lizzy whisper about it especially in the blazes of melody flamed crescendos and the overall anthemic call of the song. The track actually reminds of nineties UK band Skyscraper a lot and that is definitely a good thing. The second of the two is the best track on the album, though that decision does fluctuate with each listen to be fair. Entering into view with again riffs which corrode upon touch, the song steps into a sinister ambience with the bass opening up its deepest inciting shadows whilst the vocals hold sway with a haunting embrace and narrative. Before the track presses harder onto the senses and thoughts with a rapacious greed and intensity, the song has the feel and sound of the first Comsat Angels album Waiting For A Miracle. It is outstanding, a sonic animal with a siren call.
Sharp Beaks Strike Back is another exceptional piece of sonic alchemy and the closing Six Days a progressively clad kaleidoscope of beguiling and captivating invention and colour rich imagination. It is the perfect melodic flourish to a fascinating and thrilling album. Watertank is one of the most refreshing and musically ingenious bands around so let’s just hope they do not take another ten years to unveil the follow-up to Sleepwalk, though more EPs will suffice too.
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