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SA Music Awards

2012 Best Heavy Metal Band: Immortal Guardian

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Immortal Guardian

From chili to conjunto, Texas' best cultural exports are usually the result of taking a handful of bold ingredients and whirling them together until something delicious drops out. Such is the case with the Current Reader's Poll pick for the city's best metal band, Immortal Guardian: their name is a bus crash on a foggy European back road involving black metal legends Immortal and German power-bards Blind Guardian. Their sound, too, wanders from hither to thither, with Wesley McCool's rumbling death-growls thundering over a twitchy electrified flooring of tech-death presented in a framework of pure European power. Their reputation as a fearsome live act has developed as their tour schedule has gotten heavier since 2008, and anyone who's seen band mastermind Gabriel Guardiola do his concurrent guitar/keyboard solos knows that DragonForce no longer has a lock on jaw-dropping instrumental tightrope acts.

This blender-take-all approach to the hard and heavy extends to Immortal Guardian's new EP, titled Super Metal — a name that giddily recalls the gray-market Mexican "Super Hits" cassettes of '70s metal superstars gone by. Released here at home after a series of street shows in Austin for South by Southwest, its songs build on the all-over-the-place appeal of IG's mix of prog, power, melodic, and tech death. (There's even some pretty, pretty piano, for you symphonic metal kids.) The band's obvious enthusiasm for the material informs their eclecticism; it's like they think there's so much awesome stuff happening in the various genres they incorporate that they don't want to leave anything out. "This city is full of great metal bands, and we're ecstatic to have been named the best," bassist Foster Minor responded to news of the win. The band's future is already clogging up with tour dates, and Minor only knows one thing: "We will not disappoint."

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