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The Grandmaster: Skywards
The Grandmaster - Skywards Album Art

The Grandmaster: Skywards

Melodic Heavy Power Metal
4.0/5.0

While waiting for a new Edguy album, the band being on a long hiatus, you may want to check out The Grandmaster and their debut album, Skywards. The band features Edguy guitarist Jens Ludwig and Brazilian vocalist Nando Fernandes. The former is quite familiar to all melodic metal fans. The latter perhaps not. Fernandes has recently appeared on another Frontiers release this year, Brother Against Brother, where he was paired with fellow Brazilian vocalist Renan Zonta (Electric Mob).

Nando Fernandes & Jens Ludwig - Click For Larger Image

Nando Fernandes & Jens Ludwig

The reference to Edguy was not to suggest that The Grandmaster is a copycat of the same. Yet, both bands play heavy metal with strong guitar parts, a dash of synths, and song arrangements which both traverse and envelope traditional heavy metal and power metal infused with rock groove and accessibility. The ubiquitous producer Alessandro Del Vecchio provides piano melody and a portion of synths to many songs, something which Tobi Sammett does for Edguy. But the similarities end with Nando Fernandes' vocals who doesn't sound like Sammett at all. His metal voice, while melodic, is more assertive and raw, but stumbles in articulation. But, by now, you're probably tiring of the Edwho comparisons and wanting some kind of conclusion.

Honestly, for this melodic metal fan, The Grandmaster is another example of where the music and song composition transcend the vocal contribution. Looking past the simple fact that I can't understand Fernandes, all the songs emphasize Ludwig's guitar chops ultimately presenting us with reliable rhythmic riffs and fantastic guitar solos throughout. And, while heavy enough for metal, fast enough at times for power metal, the tunes roar with plenty of groove. This is both head banging and toe-tapping stuff (with no true ballads to speak of). My top picks include The Tempest, Truth North, The Tempest, and the steady anthem Skywards – Earthwards with an epic guitar solo from Ludwig. All in all, for powerful guitar-driven melodic metal, featuring Edguy's Jens Ludwig, The Grandmaster and Skywards is a rousing and entertaining album. Recommended.




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The Take Away

All in all, for powerful guitar-driven melodic metal, featuring Edguy's Jens Ludwig, The Grandmaster and Skywards is a rousing and entertaining album. Recommended.

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