Retroactive records have re-issued Guardian’s debut album, First Watch—in honor of it’s 20th anniversary. Bass player David Bach adds liner notes telling about how the album was actually recorded in 1988. However their label Enigma made them wait until 1989 to release it because they wanted the band to tour hard in their home state of California to build up more interest before putting the album out. Stryper’s Oz Fox produced this one and Bach relays some items of interest about that as well. On to the music. Guardian are melodic hard rock and could be compared to Dokken, Stryper and Hurricane. Mostly mid paced tracks with a few ballads tucked in. The best part for me are the guitars as Tony Palacios has a very strong, direct style and several times he pulled me in with just a few opening notes. His tone has a crisp clean midrange. The hardest part of Guardian for me to take was Paul Cawley’s vocals. They are frequently way too high for my taste—although I’ve been getting therapy about these issues and have been wondering if I’m really fit to be reviewing rock albums given my documented mental state. Although Cawley’s vocal frequencies fare better to my ears when he sticks to the mid range approach. It’s Christian rock so you know that all of the songs center on various themes all dealing with the band’s beliefs. The lyrics are perhaps a bit more subtle in their approach than some other bands of their genre. The production overall was decent, but not great. Even though this is supposed to be a remastered version it still sounds low to me in places and the drums definitely sound they needed a slightly meatier sound. Along with the notes and the remastering this anniversary edition also includes two demo tracks from1987. The re-issue of “First Watch” is a likable offering for fans of late 80′ hard rock.