• 6/10
    THE GRANDMASTER - Skywards - 6/10


Frontiers Music
Release date: October 15, 2021

[spoiler title=’Metal Express Radio – Ratings Scale’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]

10.0:         Cannot be improved! Perfect, instant classic! Essential in any record collection.
9.5 – 9.9:  Fantastic, spectacular and outstanding!
9.0 – 9.4:  Amazing release! It just lacks that little extra spice to make it perfect.
8.5 – 8.9:  Exceptional release! Will likely rank among top ten albums of the year.
8.0 – 8.4:  Great release! It has many different qualities.
7.5 – 7.9:  Above average! It is an enjoyable release.
7.0 – 7.4:  It is not brilliant, but has many strong points.
6.0 – 6.9:  It has its moments, but is not that strong.
5.0 – 5.9:  Slightly above average, does not stand out. Good outweighs bad by just a little.
4.0 – 4.9:  Just below average, bad outweighs good by just a little.
3.0 – 3.9:  Mediocre. There might be a song or a performance that is enjoyable, but that is it.
2.0 – 2.9:  Very weak! There might be a light at the end of the tunnel, too many flaws.
1.0 – 1.9:  This release gives the word “terrible” new meaning.
0.1 – 0.9:  Awful! Avoid at all cost. There is nothing good to say about this release.


User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The Backstory

Frontiers President and A&R director, Serafino Perugino has put together another Melodic Heavy Metal Project. This time around he pairs Brazilian singer Nando Fernandes and Edguy guitarist Jens Ludwig, with his go-to point man Alessandro Del Vecchio, to form The Grandmaster. Skywards is their debut release. Nando’s first appearance with Frontiers Music was on the 2021 Brother Against Brother self-titled debut. Coincidentally, Del Vecchio was also involved on that project.

The Album

Frontiers describes Nando Fernandes voice as similar to Ronnie James Dio, Jorn Lande, and Russell Allen. They hit the nail on head with that description. On the opening track “Lunar Water” Fernandes pushes his pipes to the limits, while his trusty axe man Jens Ludwig steals the show on “The Tempest.” Alessandro Del Vecchio’s keyboard work is haunting and piercing on “Cannot Find The Way.” Fernandes really channels Ronnie James Dio here, but high high-pitched wails may rival him.

“Song of Hope” mixes up the tempo a bit and has a little Blues swagger to it. “Skywards-Earthwards” is a power ballad full of passion and emotion. Ludwig is right there with a solo just as expressive. “Surrender” has an early 1908s feel to it with it’s pulsing keyboards and melodic vocals.

The Verdict

Skyward is presented as a mystical fantasy adventure full of powerful vocals and fiery guitar work. The problem is the adventure isn’t very exciting and you’ll swear you’ve heard this tune before. Once The Grandmaster gets a hold of their identity, they are sure to take us to far greater places.


  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

The Grandmaster is

Nando Fernandes – Vocals
Jens Ludwig – Guitars
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Bass & Keyboards
Mirkko De Maio – Drums


  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

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