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Review: Nightwatch - No Escape
No Escape

Label: Independent
Year released: 2001
Duration: 17:45
Tracks: 4
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: August 17, 2001
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3/5 (60%) (1 Vote)

Nightwatch is a one man project from Virginia. This 4-song demo was recorded in a home studio and it shows quite a bit - although I never expect perfect sound from a demo. Actually it's not too bad, most instruments come out pretty good. It sounds like the vocals have been "enhanced" in some way, and this is really the one thing that annoys me on this CD - as a general rule I'm of the "leave the vocals alone" school - electronic enhancements (or whatever) usually don't add anything and kind of ruin the vocal experience - at least to me. Anyway, enough ranting. ;)

The demo opens on the title track, with a pretty good beat that has a little 80's metal feel to it with some 90's influences as well, very catchy. When the vocals kick in it's obvious that they sound a little out of place - cleaner, unaltered vocals would be better here in my opinion. The second song, "Path to Insanity" is aptly named as it opens on a techno-sounding intro - which I cannot stand. Fortunately, this only lasts for a few seconds and it turns into a somewhat slow, heavy sound with pretty good guitar work. The vocals are from good to passable, but better than on the title track. Apart from the techno-sounding stuff at the beginning, this is a very good song.

The next song, "Sands of Time" is a ballad that -again- suffers from the altered vocals - maybe it's just the alteration method used that ruin them, I'm no expert in that department. There are also layered vocals made to sound like more than one person is singing in some parts. The effect is very unequal from one part to the other. Other than the vocals, this song is very good, with some cool and very well-placed guitar solos. The drums (well, drum machine) sound unequal here and there, in a couple of places it sounded like someone was knocking at my door - nothing that can't be fixed with better production means. The demo ends on "Masque of the Red Death", a very quiet instrumental track with sounds that remind me of some old countryside movies - very weird feeling!

This demo is surprising in its variety over a length of just under 18 minutes, and is actually better than I expected. There's a lot of room for improvement, and I think most of it can be fixed with better means in term of equipment and production. For a more professional result in an upcoming (?) album, getting more musicians and a real drummer involved can probably turn this into something that's pretty good - there's (fortunately) a limit to what machines can do. In the meantime, I think this demo is worth checking out. Check the web site for more information.

Additional Information

- Demo recording

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