GUARDIAN - FIRST WATCH (Retroavtive Records)


                                   (Review by Stefan)

There is a lot to tell about the history of the US Christian Metal scene – this form of Metal music has been placed on the map somewhere in the 80s and it was very good to me! While taking a look at my own CD collection I see brilliant products delivered by bands like Saint, Stryper, Whitecross, Sacred Warrior, Bride, Angelica, Holy Soldier, Tourniquet, Barren Cross, Recon, Deliverance to name but a few. Existing a couple of decades, the US Christian Metal scene still lives on and on nowadays. According to me, this awesome gem never got the appreciation it really deserved. Is it because of the Christian based lyrics? I don’t know for sure but if that’s the reason why – I'm not afraid to call it ridiculous all over! I’ll never change my opinion on the White Metal scene – many bands stole my heart and attention way back in the eighties and a big ‘Thank You’ goes out to the guys of Retroactive Records, a great label still spoiling us with both re-releases/new outputs such as the one I'm ready to discuss right now – Guardian “First Watch”. 


Guardian is an American band formed by bass player David Bach and Paul Cawley (vocalist) – that’d been somewhere in the mid-eighties. Both (actually started under the name Fusion) got company from Rikk Hart (drums) and guitarist Tony Palacios and the fire was witched on. Guardian released six studio albums, the very first full length effort “First Watch” saw daylight in 1989 through Enigma Records, produced by Oz Fox (Stryper guitarist). As mentioned before, all honour and glory goes to Retroactive Records who re-released the album as a ‘20th Anniversary Edition’. Available as a nice looking digipack with revised cover artwork, awesome production and two bonus tracks taken from the legendary California Metal Compilation 1987.


Those never heard of Guardian before – they bring on a superb way of melodic Hard Rock / Heavy Metal music offered with a lot of intense sensitivity, crystal clear vocals in the vein of George Lynch (Dokken), Les Carlson (Bloodgood), Steven Patrick (Holy Soldier). Good old eighties memories linger on while listening to the entire album. Some of the songs have a so called ‘commercial touch’ which I'm not very pleased with but at the other hand, Guardian knocks me of my feet with killer tracks like ‘I’ll Never Leave You’, ‘Saint’s Batallion’, ‘Kingdom Of Rock’, ‘Rock In Victory’ and ‘Marching On’ (especially the version taken from California Metal Compilation sounds GREAT!). I like Guardian most of all during those songs played with up-tempo rhythms and smoking guitar solo’s, as melodic as can be… fans of shred guitars will be totally spoiled! Besides a darn good singer, Paul Cawley is a true knight in guitar riff delivery too! On the hunt for nice and gentle, ballad-esque stuff – Guardian will help you out in style as well. 


I really enjoyed myself listening to the 20th Anniversary Edition of Guardian’s “First Watch” CD. Those where the days where my own Metal journey has started, it was a time so many awesome Heavy Metal acts marched on – it was a time that will never come back but damn sure, I will never forget those beautiful days! Guardian brings back the good old feelings for a while with a very good release which is their first and maybe their best that ever been released. Fans early Dokken, Sword, Holy Soldier, Stryper, Bloodgood, Angelica - order your own copy right HERE. Make notice of the fact the original LP version of “First Watch” sold 30.000 after the release was only one month old! 


My Points: 86 / 100