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The Grandmaster - Skywards Award winner

The Grandmaster
Skywards
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 08 January 2022, 7:34 AM

Today, the limitations of distance and nationalities doesn’t exist anymore (thanks to the internet for this), and some great collaborative works can be done. Yes, no one needs to wait until becoming praised as an outstanding musician to do it anymore. As a fine example, “Skywards”, the first album of the project THE GRANDMASTER, shows it perfectly. In the band, you have two Italians (the workaholic Alessandro Del Vecchio on keyboards, backing vocals and bass guitar, and God knows the countless bands he is into; and the drummer Mirkko DeMaio, of CHALICE OF SIN, MIND KEY, THE FLOWER KINGS), one German (the guitarist Jens Ludwig, of EDGUY), and one Brazilian (my compatriot Nando Fernandes on vocals, known for his singing on names as LIGHTNING STRIKES, SINISTRA, HANGAR, ANGRA as a live member, CAVALO VAPOR and others).

So, the final result is a form of melodic Heavy Metal with traces of Hard Rock and Power Metal, filled with the personalities of the musicians. Of course, such a musical form isn’t new, but these four guys know how to put their personalities and hearts on the music, so expect something really great from the quartet. As one that knows Alessandro’s career deeply, he is the producer, so expect a clean and defined sound quality on the album. But it’s really heavy, with the right adjustments on the instrumental tunes and a perfect balance on everything else. Well, as said above, the ones that knows what Alessandro’s stands for as producer can’t expect other thing from his hands.

The sensation given by “Skywards” is that the more you hear to it, the more you dive into the songs, the more you’ll become in love with the band’s musical work. And for a first time on the album, one can take a ride on “Lunar Water” (a very good song that mixes Power Metal melodies with the strength of Heavy Metal, and what a lovely singing can be heard on it, especially during the chorus), “The Tempest” and “Someday Somehow” (both present excellent guitar riffs that are entwined with a melodic and accessible Heavy Metal ambience), “Dead Bond” (the contrasts between guitars and keyboards with the heavy work of bass guitar and drums is really amazing), “Song of Hope” (that is filled with charming melodies created by the keyboards, and that tempers the weight of bass guitar and drums), “Skywards - Earthwards” (a deeper song, and in such moments, isn’t a surprise that the singing becomes so good and lovely), and “Surrender” (the melodic appeal that reminds you of the 80’s is evident, and the guitars are great once more, along with the hooking chorus). Being clear: JUST FOR A FIRST TIME, because it’s great!

Let’s hope that THE GRANDMASTER, even being a musical project, can bring new releases in the future, because the combinations shown on “Skywards” are wonderful, and we, the fans, deserve it.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Lunar Water
2. The Tempest
3. Someday Somehow
4. Dead Bond
5. Cannot Find the Way
6. Song of Hope
7. Skywards - Earthwards
8. True North
9. Surrender
10. Turn the Page
11. The Source
Lineup:
Nando Fernandes - Vocals
Jens Ludwig - Guitars
Alessandro Del Vecchio - Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Mirkko DeMaio - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Music
     


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