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Garcés, Juan S: Personal Warfare

Personal Warfare is the debut album by Ecuadorian multi-instrumentalist and producer Juan Garcés. Except for the last song on the album “Blue Light”, all music and songwriting were made by Mr. Garcés himself and his recoding crew is comprised by English metal vocalist Meyrick De La Fuente (Exist Immortal) and Haken’s rhythmic section with Raymond Hearne on drums and Conner Green on bass, Juan plays guitars and keyboards.

Is easy to be attracted to everything happening in this album just because of the enormous quality of the musicianship involved, even though I’m not crazy about the vocals (not bad at all, just not fitting… at least for me), because Juan is a very talented guitarist and he is playing his ass off on top of one of the most solid bass-drums combination nowadays within the metal and progressive metal world, lucky him.

There are lots of great moments throughout the album, exquisite and intricate instrumentation delivering unquestionable great music… but there’s nothing truly new or unique, an identifiable footprint that could clearly pinpoint Garcés’s work as his, and there’s also some lack of hooks, not that it is necessarily a bad thing but it reduces the range of appeal to more technical progressive metal fans than to those who like some melodic hooks here and there, like myself.

To my taste, the best moments of the album come with the songs “The Devil and The Sea”, the title track “Personal Warfare” and the closer “Blue Light”, the latter being my favorite song of them all. “In My Mind” and “Human” are slower and easier listening as well, a place where Garcés allows himself to provide different colors and textures to his playing, and his talent and versatility become even more evident. “Blame The Mirror” returns to the same technical and frantic approach as in “The Devil and The Sea” with a brief growling introduction and the same great rhythmic participation by the Haken boys. OMG those guys can play! The title track is indeed as good as a title track should be and is also the longest song in the album, clocking slightly over 11 minutes and containing a couple of mood swings showcasing once more the formidable musicianship, but I’m still missing that hook, it doesn’t need to be sharp, just enough to pull the listener back to further listens. Finally, “Blue Light” closes the album with great guitar riffing by Juan and De La Fuente sounds more integrated to the sound than in any of the previous songs, perhaps the way the vocal melodies are designed is responsible for that, and the flawless coordination between guitars, bass and drums is another highlight.

A solid debut, I genuinely believe Mr. Garcés will have a great solo career and Personal Warfare is the first step to it, but I also think there’s room for some improving and sculpting in the songwriting and melody-crafting department.

Track Listing:
  1. My Bid (4:28)
  2. The Devil and the Sea (7:07)
  3. In My Mind (5:39)
  4. Human (3:58)
  5. Blame The Mirror (3:05)
  6. Personal Warfare (11:22)
  7. Blue Light (6:22)

Added: August 19th 2022
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Artists @ Bandcamp
Hits: 146
Language: english

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