By Dr. Abner Mality

The sound of a violin (or fiddle, if you will) in rock  music has been a favorite sound since Kansas was in its glory years. You don’t hear it all that much anymore. So if you like the sweet tones of this instrument mixed with crunchy guitar, you might be advised to check out The Night Watch.

“Boundaries” is one 36 minute song with no vocals. This is an extremely hard thing to pull off and ultimately, Night Watch falls a little short, but they almost get there. The band features two refugees from the atmospheric rockers Musk Ox, including violinist Evan Runge, and musically they have the chops necessary for the task. In the end, it’s the length alone that undoes the project.

It starts out excellently with a mix of crunchy but tuneful metal and the blissfully sad melodies of Runge’s violin. Imagine a combo  of Neurosis, post-metal like Cult of Luna and Kansas itself. There are frequent changes in tempo and intensity, but recurring themes reappear as well. At about the 12 minute mark, though, I begin to find my attention wandering. The last third of the song seems to be the mellowest and most subdued and this is where I lost interest. They do have a powerful climax but it’s not as big or as long as it should be for such a massive tune.

A very nice try from The Night Watch, but at the end of the day, like many album-length songs, it’s just too long.