An Unstoppable Machine from Afar!

This Is Our Machine And Nothing Can Stop ItBand – And So I Watch You From Afar
Album – This Is Our Machine and Nothing Can Stop It
Label – Our Machine Records/Smalltown America
Release - No idea. A while?
Sounds like – Instrumental rock with bloody big balls.

More apologies for the 7 day gap without any updates, we’re rubbish. I have got a suitable scapegoat however: Cliff Bleszinski and Epic Games for releasing Gears of War 2; a game which has consumed my life except for the times I’m sleeping or at work. However, I’m nearing that point of ‘shaking like a crack addict’ every time I play it now, so much needed cold turkey is in order to prolong its lifespan and not reduce me to having those vivid dreams of being chainsawed in half by some bald-headed, psychopathic lizard.

My first experience of And So I Watch You From Afar (who will know be abbreviated to ASIWYFA to save must needed time) was from a quick 3 line review I did for this ‘ere website when they were featured on Rock Sound CD 107. I encountered them yet again playing at the quite wonderful This Ain’t No Picnic in September and was blown away by their ability to play instrumental rock music with such bone-crushingly dynamic force. ‘This Is Our Machine and Nothing Can Stop It‘ is their debut mini-album, which should have been reviewed a lot earlier, but it was all a case of ’round-to-it’ – however, I now have the chance.

The thing that first strikes you about ASIWYFA is how perfectly their music would soundtrack a battle ”“ not just any battle however. Imagine a raging war that has spanned centuries, two sides locked together in some horrendous bloody conflict, neither giving the other an inch. Over the top of this, the pulsating throb of their first track, the aptly named ‘I Capture Castles’ showers over the turmoil like a mortar barrage, dropping huge guitar-shaped craters of sonic sound every time a string is plucked. The grinding drone of the last 2 minutes is the kind of apocalyptic cacophony that really does sound like the end of the world; a writhing, twisting beast of terror rising up to strike down all that oppose it in devastating fury. Wow.

Holylands, 4am’ takes a detour from the barren wasteland of destruction and pounds through the speakers with an almost positive and dare I say, optimistic outlook. Despite only being 2 minutes long, it drives an incredibly melodic furrow of heavy, alternative rock into your brain, with the final squall exploding like an unwarranted thunderclap. The beautiful background melody on ‘The Voiceless’ is constantly at war with the dominant heaviness of the song’s main body, contrasting two such elegant, yet different pieces of music in such a mesmerising way. Even before the guitar gets too tinny, they cut off at the perfect moment to allow the next passage of earth-shattering sound to push through, under a drumbeat that sounds like the rhythmic blast and backfire of a military cannon.
The eastern-squall of ‘The Machine (Part 1)’ is met nicely by it’s counterpart, the cunningly titled ‘The Machine (Part 2)’ which progresses to drill even deeper furrows of restless, convulsing, prog-rock. The almost white-noise shrill of the guitar at the 3.30 mark, backed by the now-epic sounding drumming, yet again explodes into another salvo of multi-layered sounds, it’s hard not to become drowned beneath the overwhelming weight of it all.

It’s hard not to feel completely overwhelmed by ASIWYFA’s sound, so thank god for ‘WPB, 6am’, a track which would slot into the Halo 3 soundtrack quite comfortably, encapsulating such enigmatic timbre and some truly spectacular guitar work. The same can be said for final track, ‘Mount Kailash’, which picks up the similar quiet tone for all of a minute and a half, before allowing the explosive mid-section to kick in, raising a petrifying storm of swirling guitars and teeth-rattling drums. The last 2 minutes explode into life with such devastating force, it’s shocking to discover this is still the same track, albeit practically split into 3 different sections, each more rewarding than the last. As the droning guitar squeal signals the somewhat abrupt ending, all that there’s left to do is to wonder just what the hell happened here.

Chucking out the post-rock tag to these guys doesn’t do them justice. This goes beyond post-rock in my book; for one thing, it sounds exciting, fresh, vibrant ”“ a painter’s pallet splatter of colours as opposed to the dull plod of quiet-loud-quiet that you would associate with vocal-less acts of this ilk. Destined for great things, And So I Watch You From Afar are a force of unstoppable power.


And So I Watch You From Myspace
Label (signed to Smalltown America)

By Ross Macdonald

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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