Immortal Guardian – Unite and Conquer
Release Date: 27/10/2023
Running Time: 48:28
Review by Victor Augusto
I always enjoy telling you how I decide to pick an album to review, because I know that there must be an impressive number of (zero) people interested in understanding what happens in my confused head! But today I believe it would be nice to mention how different bands can connect to each other. As many of you probably know, especially my Brazilians friends, I have an extreme admiration for the Brazilian band Dark Avenger. And one of my close friends from this band is the guitarist Hugo Santiago, who I had the pleasure of sharing a radio show with for a year, called Santiago Rocks.
Hugo also had a band called Vougan, and the vocalist was the amazing Carlos Zema, who’s very well known for his talent, and for his other band, Heaven’s Guardian. It’s funny, because Brazil has certain names who seem to turn everything they touch into gold, despite our fans not giving their proper attention to these guys. People such as Mario Linhares (RIP) from Dark Avenger, and Leandro Caçoillo (Viper, Caravellus). Here, Carlos Zema is one of these names. When I saw Immortal Guardian on the Ever Metal review list, I immediately chose it. To my surprise, Carlos is just one important piece of this “machine” because it has been a long time since I’ve seen a band whose members and instruments are so musically well connected as I am seeing here.
It’s even hard to describe the band’s style. It contains Progressive Metal, Power Metal and traditional Heavy Metal, but everything is so perfectly balanced that you won’t be stuck in only one genre. For me, It’s like they tried to put a few samples of each style to make the music very easy to digest. The lyrical concept is basically about the separation we have been seeing in our world, related to things from religion to politics, and how it is a loss for us as human beings, as we can hear in ‘Divided We Fall,’ which sounds like a lament over it. This track has interesting fast parts of double bass on drums followed by bass that recreates something like a moment of turbulence when you feel dizzy with all the chaos around. Then the melodies sound like a lament over everything that’s been ruined.
The opposite happens on the album title track ‘Unite and Conquer’ when the melodies are much happier, like the hope to unite people. But they also offer different histories, for example, the opening track ‘Ozona’ is about when they had a car problem in a city called Ozona, which looked to have nothing there, and their greatest desire was to return home alive. Also ‘Rise of the Phoenix’ has a very personal history from the Guitarist Gabriel. By the way I really must say thanks to the band for offering such detailed information about the lyrics and the music ideas on their press release.
As I said before, I think the highlight here is the high level of all four musicians. Gabriel Guardian has an amazing capability of playing keyboards at the same time as he plays guitars (I can barely speak while walking, so this to me is amazing)! Carlos Zema has beautiful vocal interpretations, going through different vocal ranges. The heaviness of Joshua Lopez’s bass and the killer drums of Justin Piedimonte are two important details. The team is so tight that even having two special guests like Ralf Scheepers and Vicky Psarakis, the band still show as the main characters here.
Overall, the band explores all the mentioned styles to perfection, without getting too deep into any of them, and it shows how incredible they are to put so many incredible references together in one album. Even though I am not the biggest fan of these genres, I really got into this album and “Unite and Conquer” became one of my favourite albums of 2023 from the first listen! Because, for me, if you are able to put your emotion through the music and keep it exciting, you will have my attention. And I assure you “Unite and Conquer” will offer this experience.
‘Ozona’ Official Music Video
03. Roots Run Deep (feat Ralf Scheepers)
04. Perfect Person
05. Divided We Fall
06. Lost in The Darkness (feat Vicky Psarakis)
07. Southern Rain
08. Unite and Conquer
09. Un Dia A La Vez
10. Rise of the Phoenix
Gabriel Guardian – Keyboard, Guitars and Backing vocals
Carlos Zema – Lead Vocal
Joshua Lopez – Bass Guitar
Justin Piedimonte – Drums
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