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IMMORTAL GUARDIAN Psychosomatic

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Wednesday, February 10, 2021 @ 10:28 AM


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IMMORTAL GUARDIAN
Psychosomatic

M-Theory Audio




Lockdowns! Media misinformation! Quarantines! And dual keyboard/guitar solos!

If there has ever been a band that has managed to capture much of the current end times of the era of COVID-19 so far in 2021, it’s San Antonio, Texas’s own self-proclaimed super metal band IMMORTAL GUARDIAN. Founded in 2008 by accomplished keyboardist/guitarist Gabriel Guardiola – who actually does perform both instruments at once – and evidently known for their patience as their latest album Psychosomatic happens to be only their second full-length studio album, the band – rounded out by Brazilian-born vocalist Carlos Zema, bassist Joshua Lopez and Montreal-born drummer Justin Piedimonte – have garnered a pretty solid following, from touring stints with Judas Priest, Dragonforce, Kamelot, Symphony X, Sonata Arctica, Slayer, Metal Church, Soilwork, Steve Vai and others thanks to their brand of progressive power tech metal with many elements of symphonic shred and keyboard warrior magic.

And yet, despite many listens to Psychosomatic while in awe of Gabriel’s masterful dexterity skills throughout the album, I can’t help but sense that there’s something missing that, for me, could be preventing me from enjoying this album a lot more than I am. I’m sensing that I’ve heard it all before – and I’m not just referring to the daily press conferences from Dr. Anthony Fauci or Theresa Tam over how many more layers of masks I should be wearing out in public either. Psychosomatic is indeed a vastly descriptive concept album fit for these pandemic times, covering a multitude of human emotions ranging from fear to distrust to outright anger and, eventually, to hope and curiosity, as songs such as the title track, “Lockdown” and “Read Between The Lines” shall boldly attest. Even tracks such as “Goodbye To Farewells”, “Clocks” and “New Day Rising” offer much of the band’s high musical points: Carlos’ powerful vocal range, Joshua and Justin’s solid rhythmic chemistry and Gabriel’s combined fiery riffs and intricate keyboard flourishes. But little else appears to fully stand out on this album, which sounds slightly run-of-the-mill despite the vast pool of talent. “Candlelight” is a prolific-sounding eulogy to those that have been claimed by the cornoavirus, but its rhythm section tends to lumber and stagger a lot more slowly in parts more so than the average progressive metal ballad, with Gabriel’s keyboard solo being its saving grace. “Find A Reason” takes an extra two minutes to plod longer as Carlos’ low vocals run the risk of being overwhelmed by the band’s wall of dominating sonic keyboard/guitar riffs. Overall, IMMORTAL GUARDIAN have incorporated a lot of its influences into their sound, but that same incorporation into giving the band their own identity also doesn’t seem to have spread out far enough on Psychosomatic, particularly when their same influences and contemporaries themselves have found greater success in their own hybrid progressive/melodic sound. In all fairness, while IG should really be on their third studio album at this stage in their 10+ year-long career, it’s also unfair that the very same pandemic that the band have written a concept album about has been the same reason now that they, as have every other professional musician on the planet, have been sorely affected by. With that said, giving their reputation as a well-established touring band from having shared the stage with some of the most legendary names in the metal scene, IG have the perfect opportunity to hone and develop their studio performance even further while building up their own song catalogue for future releases.

As it stands, there’s still a breakthrough album that will truly establish IMMORTAL GUARDIAN’s legacy from beyond a touring band in the near future. Psychosomatic shows the band at that halfway point with the drive to go further.

3.0 Out Of 5.0

https://www.immortalguardian.net/
https://www.facebook.com/igmetal
https://www.instagram.com/immortal_guardian/


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