The information I received about Brazilian metal band Heaven's Guardian was rather sketchy, so a moderate amount of detective work via the Internet was required. Formed in 1997, they were active early on with one demo and two full-length albums, Strava (2001) and D.O.L.L. (2007). I live DVD was released the same year but, as far as my research found, silence since then. Now Heaven's Guardian returns with a new album Signs and some personnel changes. These include, at the least, a new bassist, new male vocalist, and the addition of female vocalist. (It should be noted that this album was first released last November by Brazil's Megahard Records. It comes to me, in 2017, via Germany's Pure Steel Records.)
Musically, Heaven's Guardian plays melodic progressive power metal, essentially in the European tradition or, at the very least, like their fellow band mates, Angra. They work from the basics of the genre and its roots in classic heavy metal: twin guitar harmony, ambitious leads, a steady rhythm section, keyboards for symphonic atmosphere, but also color in solos and, generally, melodic vocals (more on that element in a moment).
All these things are wrapped up in ambitious, yet not highly technical, arrangements. Tempos and signatures change, but you can keep up with shift thanks to Heaven's Guardian superb use of very accessible and catchy melody, harmony, and groove. Song composition is one of their strongest assets. Another are the twin guitar parts: the riffs, lines, and especially the soaring leads. Returning to the vocals, the male and female vocalists share leads, but also sing in harmony for duets. Flavio Mendez' vocals are all over the range in style. But mostly he sings raw and rough, yet no quite nearing growls. Yet he can sing clean as within the song Change, or when he sings in harmony with Olivia Bayer. She, on the hard, sings clean and melodic throughout with a notable operatic tone. Suffice to say, while this male-female style, rough paired with operatic, is quite common, I found the vocal arrangements the weakest link for the album.
My conclusion then is rather self-evident: musically, Heaven's Guardian's progressive power metal is creative, expansive, and enjoyable, excepting the gruff male vocals.
Musically, with Signs, Heaven's Guardian's progressive power metal is creative, expansive, and enjoyable, excepting the gruff male vocals.
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