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Juan S. Garcés – Personal Warfare

Juan S. Garcés – Personal Warfare

Juan S. Garcés - Personal Warfare

  • Rating: 7/10
  • Release Date: 10 June, 2022
  • Label: Self Release
  • Musicians:
    Meyrick De La Fuente – Vocals (Exist Immortal, UK)
    Juan S. Garcés – Guitars, Keyboards/Programming (EC)
    Conner Green – Bass (Haken, US)
    Raymond Hearne – Drums (Haken, UK)
  • Favorite songs:
    In my Mind, Human, Personal Warfare
  • For Fans of:
    Haken, Novena

Quito is the capital city of Ecuador. It is also the home of a guitarist who is little known about outside his own country. His name is Juan S. Garcés and he now proudly presents his debut album, “Personal Warfare”. The project has been almost entirely written and produced by the man himself. But he did call upon some metal luminaries to help out. Their names may well be familiar to a lot of you.

On vocals he recruited Meyrick De La Fuente from Exist Immortal. Also, from Haken he secured the services of both Conner Green on bass and Raymond Hearne on drums. The very presence of musicians with such calibre suggests the respect afforded to Juan S Garcés, and with good reason.

Multiple bands across the years have influenced the writing of this album, not to mention guitarists too numerous to mention. Those influential bands range from The Beatles to Lamb of God. Bearing this in mind, you can get some idea of the variety in Juan’s music.

It’s a Haken influence that becomes apparent in the opening track ‘My Bid’. The other thing that becomes abundantly apparent is the amazing dexterity of Juan as he delivers complex riffs and fluent solos.

Photo by Santiago Fernandez

A more sedate intro to ‘The Devil and the Sea’ is followed by heavier riffing interspersed with mellow sections. Juan’s accomplished playing can be put down to several factors. His musical learning began at the age of five and later as a teenager he took lessons at Conservatorio MozArte. From 2005 to 2010 he studied at the College of Music (CoM) of Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ). This is the point at which his musical taste became heavier.

From 2007 to 2020 Juan played guitar for various bands in the Ecuadorian rock/metal scene (Colapso, Descomunal, Madbrain, Viuda Negra). After working in various jobs including teaching and working on a cruise ship, he decided to develop his own projects. “Personal Warfare” is the first fruits of his labour.

Juan is very keen for people to hear his songs. So much so that he has been posting a new track on YouTube each Friday, leading up to the release. As a result, you can literally listen to the whole album right here (see below for link). Number three in this schedule was the gentle ‘In my Mind’ with acoustic guitar and some nice lead breaks.

Juan S. Garces – Personal Warfare [Full Album] (Click here if the video does not play)

Staying with the more mellow feel ‘Human’ is almost, but not quite a ballad. Unfortunately, none of the songs have strong enough hook lines for that. This is where the material falls down slightly in my opinion. However, this is more than made up for by Juan’s superb playing.

Short, frantic and slightly chaotic, ‘Blame the Mirror’ sees Meyrick switching between clean and guttural vocals. He seems to be more comfortable in the latter mode. Neither could have been easy over the staccato, almost disjointed structure of the song.

The penultimate and title track is a lengthy one running out to over 11 minutes and with a myriad of influences. It comes in three parts, I. The Fall, II. The Climb and III. The Attack. These are clearly telling a story in themselves, and the visual representation of this is vivid in the album’s cover. This dark but beautiful artwork was provided by Lenore Ani of aniartworks.org. There’s more than a hint of Led Zeppelin in places and perhaps a bit of Steve Vai and loads more.

Photo by Santiago Fernandez

Apart from the guitar Juan also plays some keyboards and that’s how the last track starts. This brief quiet intro to ‘Blue Light’ soon gives way to a driving riff and a final flourish from this promising young Ecuadorian. So here it is, the album in full, enjoy.

There is no denying that Juan is a very talented guitar player. However, I’m afraid I find some of the songs a little unremarkable. Which is a shame because the instrumental parts are excellent. But all this means there is bags of potential and I’m sure he is full of ideas. So, watch this space, I will be doing just that.

Track List:

  1. My Bid
  2. The Devil and the Sea
  3. In my Mind
  4. Human
  5. Blame the Mirror
  6. Personal Warfare
  7. Blue Light

About the Author

Bob

I’m Bob, I hail from Robin Hood country (Nottinghamshire) in the UK. Rock and Metal music has played a big part in my life for many years. From playing guitar in local bands, to attending dozens of Festivals and countless concerts. I have been taking photos at gigs (whenever possible) for a number of years now, and as the camera gear has got better so have the photos. I continue to seek out new Bands and tend to prefer the more technical and heavy stuff these days. I live with my wife Sarah, who fortunately likes the heavy bands as well, and our cats who have to listen to it, whether they like it or not. Apart from gigs and photography (not just concerts) I also enjoy hill walking, films and discovering new beers (and drinking them).

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