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Garuda Force - Blue Sky

Garuda Force
Blue Sky
by Matt Coe at 29 June 2014, 4:50 PM

This is my first experience reviewing a band from Indonesia, and what I have before me is a Neo-Classical oriented Speed/Power Metal quartet called GARUDA FORCE. Originally together for 10 years under another name (MELS BAND), the new incarnation began in 2009, and this 5 song “Blue Sky” EP is their first release. Three of the five songs are delivered in their native tongue, while the title track and closer “If U Die” possess English lyrics.

It’s quite obvious right out of the gate that Jay and Iwan as guitarists have a strong affinity for Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Romeo, and other guitarists who love to use neo-classical phrasing and arpeggio movements in their axe play. GARUDA FORCE chose to augment this play with synchronistic keyboards, although I’m unsure who is providing these elements as a session player. I also wonder if the band use a real studio drummer or relegate themselves to a computer-aided tool, as some of the tempos in “Blue Sky” and “Harta Tahta & Wanita” are very predictable and stiff.

Regi as a vocalist has a high pitch warble to his voice, not possessing as much strength and in key confidence as one would expect from a Power Metal vocalist. In other words, he will never be mistaken for the Russell Allen/ Michael Kiske caliber in the genre – which makes a lot of the songs a tough go to appreciate. The closer “If U Die” where he approaches the verses in a lower register would be better for him to explore on future recordings.

In the end, GARUDA FORCE love the work of HELLOWEEN, STRATOVARIUS, and Yngwie Malmsteen for sure – but aren’t even close to the originality of these acts and have a little work ahead of them to gain more appeal beyond their home territory.

2 Star Rating

1. Blue Sky
2. Baynag Malam
3. Bencana
4. Harta Tahta & Wanita
5. If U Die
Regi – Vocals
Jay – Lead Guitar
Iwan – Rhythm Guitar
Toto – Bass
Record Label: Heart of Steel / Defox Records


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