Tuesday, October 27, 2009

GUARDIAN - FIRST WATCH 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION


Roll down the windows or throw the top down and CRUISE!!! When I put in this re-issue from Retroactive Records, I was instantly taken back to summer 1987 (June 27 to be precise) in Riverside, Ca. White Throne was in its infancy, but ‘Soldier’ the metal band I roadied for (Hey Guys!) Was invited to play the first HIS Festival put on by Keith Miles (former Holy Right, Final Axe vocalist) ….

It was at an old movie theater. Outside temperature easily hit 105 degrees; you think I jest… no way!! The air conditioning unit was not working up to snuff and Whew!!!! Well after hearing bands like Deliverance, Contagious, Messiah Prophet, and Eternal Ryte and after Solider played here comes this band wearing armor costumes! They played some excellent songs, fabulous melodies and phenomenal guitar playing. Not to mention a monster bass player (Hi Dave!). Yeah, in a round bout way I’m speaking of Guardian!

Before Guardian cruised the Miracle Mile with the Power of Love trying to catch a Bottle Rocket a Buzz was started in Orange County. First Watch was the first full length release by this So Cal quartet. Originally produced by Oz Fox this record did quite well for Guardian. It sold 30,000 units it’s first month. This is full on 80’s melodic metal/hard rock.

Guardian’s music was always a bit more sophisticated than say a Poison or Bon Jovi, even tho they have much more in common with say a Dokken or the heavier side of Stryper. With no disrespect intended to the post First Watch Guardian crew; this disc to me is the apex of Guardian Mach 1 (or 3 I suppose if you count Fusion and Voyager. But who’s counting!!).

Great melodic anthems like ‘Rock in Victory’, ‘Livin for the Promise’ and ‘Kingdom of Rock’ make this re-release a true treat. Speaking of ‘Kingdom of Rock’ when Guardian played the Omni the second time, post armor in support of First Watch, I will always remember David Bach and me making eye contact during the chorus of KOR. He was ‘singing’ with the sampled chorus and just smiled at me… Big and wide... Dave do you remember the time Jimmy and I hung out with you at your home in Tustin? Great memories.

The re-mastering is handled by the incomparable J. Powell at Steinhaus. Bro it sounds FABULOUS! Greater clarity and added punch in all the right places, it just makes it all sound so alive. Oz Fox’s production is given a proper enhancement that makes it all sound so dirty, gritty, nasty and ROCKIN! Crunchy guitars, punchy drums, slingin bass and clean vocal melodies, yes indeed.

We are even treated to the two long lost classics from the original California Metal release in 1987. ‘Spiritual Warfare’ and ‘Marching On’ appeared here first. ‘Marching On’ would go on to appear on First Watch, but ‘Spiritual Warfare’ just disappeared. Nice to hear it here.

For me this isn’t only a nice return to memory lane, but another important part of metal history. The label that Guardian was signed to, Enigma, went belly up not too long after the release of this album. Needless to say, First Watch kinda disappeared and become very collectable.

First Watch is a must for those who like their metal encouraging, well written and marching on…
(Hey Dave I remember those pics of 'Fusion' with the helmets!! or was it Voyager? am I a fan boy or what!! You guys provided a young 20 something a very encouraging outlet. thanx)

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4 comments:

Shokersito said...

Guardina is the best grup of metal yeeeaa!!!

Paco JG said...

IT WAS SUCH A GREAT IDEA TO RE-RELEASE THIS GEM, MAN!!! THEY REALLY SHOCKED THE SCENE WITH THIS ALBUM AND SOWED FOR THE KIGDOM OF ROCK!!! AND ALL THIS IS STILL ALIVE AFTER 20 YEARS!!! TURN IT UP BABY!!!

Roger Smith said...

This album just flat rocks. I have been loving the re-release with the heavier low end and more up front sound. First Watch is a treat every time I listen to it.

Paul said...

Hey man...Paul Glenn Cawley here....I just want everyone to know this now....I've been talking with Dave....(my old buddy and bandmate and dear brother in the Lord)...you know, David Bach....me and Dave and Rikk and (well sort a Tony) have all been talking and guess what? We're planning a full on reunion THIS YEAR! We're praying and talking now about what level of a reunion to make but there will definitely be NEW MATERIAL recorded and some live shows (L.A. and Nashville) and some other stuff going on...that's all I can say for now cuz we're still in planning....so PRAY for us!! It's AWESOME NEWS!!