FEAR FACTORY frontman Burton C. Bell has told Billboard.com that the debut EP from his ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS project, entitled "Iconoclast", will first be issued as a vinyl-only release later this month via the group's official web site, before being released on CD with a bonus video of the track "On the River".

On record, the group consists of only Bell and ex-PRONG/KILLING JOKE keyboardist John Bechdel, each of which go the multi-instrumental route on "Iconoclast".

Regarding comparisons between ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS and FEAR FACTORY, Bell told Billboard.com, "The only similarity is that I'm singing. It has melody to it — FEAR FACTORY has melody, but it's the music that I've written with John. So it's not like metal, it's not percussive; it's more organic, landscape-y texture kind of feeling. It's totally like a hypnotic kind of thing."

With each of the five songs on the EP going over the six-minute mark, Bell describes the music as reminiscent of PINK FLOYD, THE CURE and, not surprisingly, KILLING JOKE.

The group's name came from a book that Bell was reading shortly after relocating from Los Angeles to Pennsylvania. "I was getting into 'The Book of Enoch', and I was just reading it a lot," he says. "The Watchers were the angels that basically descended from heaven, and took the forms of people — they took human wives, and they taught the humans the way of the world. Basically jaded the humans from God, so the Watchers were banished from heaven indefinitely. That's what this is — I felt this was my spiritual journey."

ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS' first live performance is set for Sunday (Feb. 6) at New York's CBGB club. Also on the bill is FALSE ICONS (Bechdel's other band) and STILL LIFE DECAY (of which two members will guest during AOTW's set, with Bell returning the favor for two songs of their set).

Bell admits feeling some butterflies for AOTW's debut show. "I'm nervous as hell," he told Billboard.com. "It'll be the first time being onstage playing guitar while singing. I've been rehearsing every day."


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