I was first introduced to The Night Watch by my good friend Jon Du Bose on his radio show, Headphone Meditations. The use of a violin as part of a progressive rock band is goes back to the days of King Crimson, Kansas, Jean Luc Ponty, Eddie Jobson and of course Aussie prog metal band Ne Obliviscaris. The Night Watch are now part of this long tradition and the Canadian band remind me a little bit of both Crimson and Kansas. They are also a little heavier than those bands but certainly not as heavy as Ne Obliviscaris.
The Night Watch are definitely bold however. Their second release is called “Boundaries” and it’s one 36 minute song. It just doesn’t get more progressive than that. The challenge with any piece of music that long is to hold the listener’s attention and they do just that. The song has an amazing flow to it with plenty of heavy moments mixed with more mellow, atmospheric moments.
I should mention that The Night Watch are an instrumental band and that’s where violinist Evan Runge earns his keep. Runge’s violin in effect becomes the vocals for the track. His lines are melodic and captivating but he also inter-plays well with guitarist Nathanael Larochette throughout. The song has a direction and has the transitions that make it work as an extended piece of music. The listener is taken along on a journey on “Boundaries” and you never feel lost or ambushed by too many notes.
I also love that at the 30 minute mark, you think the song ends and you get a few faux endings before the finale of the track. “Boundaries” actually breaks boundaries. There are no limits here. What band would have the balls to release an epic like this as their second album?!? It took 3 years of hard work to create this masterpiece and it shows. This album/song is certainly not for the faint of heart but “Boundaries” shows what progressive music can be when musicians unite and let the music be their guide.