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Aural Pleasure Review

Immortal Guardian: 'Super Metal EP'

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Power metal and prog metal have more in common than the fact that Immortal Guardian flips effortlessly between the two; they're also high-proficiency genres that create a love-it-or-leave-it reaction amongst headbangers. Judging from their popularity around these parts, a lot more people love 'em than leave 'em, and it's easy to see why: Gabriel Guardiola's guitar/keyboard attack is a twin terror showcased right off the bat on "Nevermore" and "Surface" (though the Malmsteenian piano coda on the latter is evidence of why some people stay far away from this stuff). Cody Gilliland's drumming is often spectacular, and while Wesley McCool's vocal shifts are a bit too polished to deliver the brutal attack of a Black Dahlia Murder, they complement the power-prog on display nicely. IG's reputation largely rests on their dazzling prowess as a live band, and while Super Metal doesn't shift the balance, they've learned a few tricks in the studio. There are moments — like the video-game-run-amok duel between Gabriel and Gilliland at the beginning of "The Great Escape" — where they show tantalizing glimpses of what they could become with a big budget and a simpatico producer.

★★★ ½ (out of 5 stars)

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