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Title: The Fabled City
Artist: Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman
Genre: Acoustic
Release Date: 26th September 2008
Label: Sony/BMG

Album Review

Tom Morello is probably better known as a founding member and guitarist of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and AUDIOSLAVE, but last year saw his first solo release but under the alias “The Nightwatchman” entitled ‘One Man Revolution’

With ‘The Fabled City’, Tom now presents his second instalments, but the first under his real name and already the first track , which is simultaneously the title track, shows the rather acoustic direction the record will take and with its distinct guitar chords it strangely reminds of a spaghetti western. “I’ve seen the fabled city, its streets are paved with gold but an iron fence runs ‘round it, its iron gate is closed.” But a little bit of rock attitude has found its way into one track nonetheless and so the guitar on ‘Whatever It Takes’ is warped through some effects devices and Tom’s voice sounds very self-confident to me here and that is a sing to teeter along with. Much unlike the next song where we learn that the devil is not ‘The King of Hell’ and if you really think a while about it then some other one comes to your mind. No it’s not George Bush, even though some people might think that. But actually we are the devils who made the Earth our personal hell. The song itself is very reduced and only guitars and vocals but sometimes this is more than enough. One is tempted to think of a funeral ceremony in a church during the intro of ‘Night Falls’, however the mood slightly relaxes afterwards but the song always keeps a glimmering spark of melancholy in its heart when Tom sings about various episodes obvious all taking place in a small river valley.

And from a small river valley we move on to the city of destruction where there’s a secret prison with a secret cell, where the secret prisoner is tortured but keeps his secret well and where someone prays “that God himself will come and drown the president if the levees break again” well, which president would that be. On ‘Lazarus on Down’ we welcome the first guest singer on the record which is SYSTEM OF A DOWN’s SERJ TANKIAN, whose clean higher vocals stand in sharp contrast to Morello’s more sonorous style but these combination sends various chills over your body and the intense melancholy of that two voices is enhanced by a violin, piano and the omnipresent guitar. The second gust is the country singer and actor SHOOTER JENNINGS who also wrote the lyrics for ‘The Iron Wheel’ and also this song has more than a slight Country touch while the two of them sing about “The iron wheel that slowly spins around, it takes you from the cradle till' your six feet underground, you'll ride the wheel till your through, and those who spin the wheel, well, those fuckers ride it too.”
I was totally surprised about this lyrically appealing and very dark sounding record with many darker arrangements influenced by folk or blues. The first album by The Nightwatchman completely passed me by and so it hit me quite off-guard, but you get addicted to the music with every further spin of the album. A gain for every CD collection in my humble opinion.


01. The Fabled City – 3:13
02. Whatever It Takes – 4:15
03. The King of Hell – 3:18
04. Night Falls – 3:52
05. The Lights Are On In Spidertown – 3:25
06. Midnight In The City of Destruction – 4:57
07. Saint Isabelle – 3:35
08. Lazarus On Down – 3:38
09. Gone Like Rain – 3:44
10. The Iron Wheel – 2:44
11. Rise to Power – 4:01


Tom Morello - Music, Lyrics, Vocals
Guest appearances by Serj Tankian & Shooter Jennings

Website /

Cover Picture


Music: 9
Sound: 9
Extras: -
Total: 9


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