Album in Review: IMMORTAL GUARDIAN -Psychosomatic
The biggest surprise of the year for me was the power metal powerhouse IMMORTAL GUARDIAN’s new release “Psychosomatic.” Not because given their track record it was a surprise that it was gonna be good, it’s just that besides early HELLOWEEN and mid-period STRATOVARIUS I don’t really listen to power metal anymore. I find most of it too cheesy and it just doesn’t resonate with me the same way it did back in the day. But IG is more than just power metal. Tons of progressive elements and even modern metal (ie blast beats, harsh vocals) are layered throughout keeping the album fresh, modern, and unique. The backstory behind this album is an interesting one. After completing almost a whole album’s worth of material the band decided to scrap it all and create a loosely based concept album dealing with different aspects of the pandemic. This was a smart move because it kept it current and lyrically grounded more in reality than fantasy, something all too common in this genre. On this, their second full-length album, the band is joined by new members Josh Lopez and drummer Justin Piedimonte in addition to founder Gabriel Guardiola on guitar/keys and journeyman vocalist Carlos Zema (Outworld, Metal Mike, Heaven’s Guardian, David Shankle Group). The new members are absolute beasts of players, but the spotlight is most definitely on Gabriel and Carlos. On this album Carlos showcases a master class on power metal singing, showing he can do just about anything. He shows constraint when needed throughout the songs and between the highs, lows, and in betweens he truly reads the songs well and proves why he has been a top tier vocalist for so long. Dude can even do growls like a mofo (check out their Lamb of God cover here). Gabriel Guardiola aka Gabriel Guardian is a virtuoso of virtuosos. His main calling card is being able to play guitar and keys at the same time and it is a sight to behold. He does this seamlessly, making it look easy and either watching it will make you either want to put your instruments down forever or just push even harder. Either way it is beyond impressive. His guitar playing is of the highest order (and keys as well) and although he has blinding speed, just like Carlos he knows when to use restraint and come up with some insanely catchy riffs and solos. Listening to his guitar playing makes me think that he would be able to make one hell of an instrumental album that would truly stand out amongst the pack. The songs are quite varied, keeping the listener engaged throughout the whole album and even feature guest performances from Marcelo Barbosa (Angra) on a guitar solo on “Phobia” Mary Zimmer (Helion Prime) with growling vocals on “Goodbye to Farewells”. I feel that I do need to mention that this band is on the record label I work for (M-Theory Audio) and although that helped bring this band to my attention my review and love for this band is completely unbiased. I’ve gotten to know some of these guys over the last year or so since Carlos and Gabriel have relocated to Las Vegas, where I live, and these are a great bunch of dudes with exciting ideas for their next album, marketing, stage shows, and beyond.
This band writes catchy, mature tunes that bands that have been around way longer haven’t grasped as well, making this a band that truly deserves to be at the top of the power metal elite. The band has already started working on new songs, which may see the light of day at the end of 2022 and cranking out new tunes so fast further solidifies the bands work ethic, talent, and genius the band possesses. It would be great to see this band grow in popularity and be a common household name in metal. Let’s hope 2022 does that for them.
ALBUM RATING: 8/10