Manuel Gardner Fernandes ushers in a new era of pop-djent with bold new Unprocessed single, Candyland

Manuel Gardner Fernandes
(Image credit: Unprocessed/YouTube)

Since their inception in 2014, Unprocessed – headed up by electric guitar virtuoso Manuel Gardner Fernandes – have won over legions of fans and mesmerized the guitar world alike with their boundary-pushing fretboard pyrotechnics and ahead-of-their-time approach to progressive metal.

Their latest single Candyland, however, marks the onset of a pop-centric new era for the German four-piece, and ushers in a new age of what can only effectively be described as pop-djent.

The track itself – a three-and-a-half-minute masterclass in guitar playing and a Manuel Gardner Fernandes technique goldmine – serves up a sublime demonstration of the band’s new approach to pop, no holds barred, and oozes with the groups sophisticated style of jaw-dropping contemporary composition.

Of course, Fernandes is on top form, and, with the aid of bass guitar sensation David Levy, kits out the track with a trademark percussive riff, which he effortlessly reels off with his rapid-fire right-hand technique. 

The two-and-a-half-minute mark sees the arrival of an out-and-out guitar solo, used to close out the track courtesy of some sublime string-hopping sequences, lightning-fast fingerboard-traversing runs and, of course, a handful of masterfully muted string strikes.

Kudos to rhythm guitar player Christoph Schultz, who also props up Fernandes’s fierce fretboard exploration with some oversized chordal stabs and elegant percussive pinch harmonic passages of his own.

Posting to social media, Fernandes wrote, “I’m so excited about showing you our new music. We came a long way and it’s finally happening. Lemme know what you think."

Candyland is taken from the band’s as-yet-unnamed upcoming album, which is set to arrive in early 2022. 

It's not the first time the Ibanez-endorsed artist has sought to push genre-specific boundaries, having previously teamed up with Tim Henson for R&B-inspired banger Real and a blistering rap-shred-infused cover of In The Cut.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.