This is a great melodic metal album with tons of hooks and smooth as silk 1980’s metal vocals. The original cd version contains two songs that were not on the vinyl or cassette version (“Hyperdrive” & “Marching On”). Both the additional tracks are superb, and in my opinion, even better than some of the album material. Of course with every 80’s metal band, there was the obligatory ballads, but overall this disc just rocks. Produced by Oz Fox of Stryper. Bought this one as a new release.The original 1989 release came with two bonus tracks not available on the tape or record.
2009 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION
Grab your AquaNet, your spandex and wrap a bandanna around your leg, it’s time to rock! Guardian’s long out-of-print “First Watch” has been given the remastering treatment and is available on CD once again. “First Watch” is a classic Christian metal platter, echoing back to the classic days of Sunset Strip heavy metal. The original 1989 CD was produced by Stryper’s Oz Fox and featured twelve superb, melodic heavy metal tracks, each possessing a ton of hook, smooth as silk vocals and some choice guitar solos. Musically they fall somewhere between Dokken and Stryper. However, despite the hair-metal references, “First Watch” is a bit more sophisticated and mature than the average glam band from that era. Guardian offer up plenty of hard ‘n heavy songs such as the “I’ll Never Leave You”, “Saint Batallions”, “Hyperdrive” and anthems like “Kingdom of Rock” and “Rock in Victory”. As would be expected of an 80’s band, there is also the obligatory ballad. Here we get a heartfelt song about life changing faith in God in “Miracle”. Though it may be nostalgia, this has always been on of my favorite ballads, and one of my favorite Guardian songs.
The re-mastering is handled by J. Powell (aka Cliffy Huntington), who has been bringing new life into many long forgotten classics through Retroactive Records. The newly mastered CD offers greater clarity, a bit more separation between the instruments and brings the levels up to modern standards without having them so high that the recording sounds like it’s breaking up your speakers.
The original LP and cassette releases from ‘89 only had ten tracks. “Hyperdrive” and “Marching On” were both CD only bonus tracks. Both are included here. As a bonus, the two Guardian tracks from the classic California Metal compilation are offered up as well. Of course, giving us two version of “Marching On”, as well as the heavy rocker “Spiritual Warfare”. The CD is wrapped by a standard digi-pack, which unfortunately is becoming the industry standard. Liner notes are by Guardian bassist David Bach who offers up some memories about recording this album.