Fun fact: I actually reviewed this Swedish band’s debut for Hellbound all the way back in ’09. It got a pretty favourable review, too, drawing comparisons to Clutch, Mastodon and now-defunct Ontario outfit The Georgian Skull. But man, I don’t think I’ve listened to that album in five or six years—and I haven’t heard anything else New Keepers of the Water Towers have put out in the meantime.
Suffice to say, their sound has changed an awful lot since then. No longer busting out sludgy chestnuts with titles such as “Giant Subway Beast” and “The Three-Headed Cow,” they’ve moved off into a much more progressive direction, something more akin to a Hawkwind or Pink Floyd, but really more of an epic post-rock outfit that I don’t normally listen to. And gone are any mentions of crazy creatures—in fact, there are very few vocals on here at all.
This new direction is readily apparent in 11-minute opening track “The Forever War,” a lighter, airier, space-rock track. This one is more of a slow march, with churning percussion and some keyboard lines eerily reminiscent of The Exorcist, particularly around the seven-minute mark. “Tracks Over Carcosa” is more up-tempo, with a driving backbeat that brings Hawkwind to mind. And speaking of soundtracks, this track actually has a bit of a James Bond vibe. “Tachyon Deep” recalls Pink Floyd, and there are shades of outfits like Earth and Pelican scattered throughout, as well. These might not be the most obvious points of comparison, but like I said, I don’t listen to a whole lot of this post-rock stuff.
In fact, this whole record could be some sort of post-rock soundtrack. These songs are well constructed and expertly arranged…lightyears away from their debut in style and form. I guess you can always expect some progression from bands who stick around for a while, but this is really an entirely different outfit from what I remember.
Then again, like I said, I haven’t heard their first effort in while. I think it might be time for me to dig up that CD—sounds like it would be more my speed.