Unprocessed reach for new genre-bending heights in latest single, Portrait

Manuel Gardner Fernandes
(Image credit: Unprocessed/YouTube)

With Unprocessed, Manuel Gardner Fernandes – contemporary electric guitar virtuoso and internet sensation – has continually pushed the boundaries of what’s possible on a fretboard by flexing his mind-boggling approach to progressive metal.

Now, after ushering in an era of pop-djent with Candyland and Rain, Fernandes – along with the help of his Unprocessed bandmates – has returned to deliver the goods once again with their scorching new effort, Portrait.

The third single to be taken from the quartet’s upcoming as-yet-untitled album, Portrait is as brain-busting as every Unprocessed song to have come before it. And, in a show of what the band describes as their “unwavering, gritty core”, the track continues to lean heavily on the more pop-inspired precedent that was set in their previous two singles.

As usual, keeping up with Fernandes’ guitar work is nigh-on impossible – when you aren’t dazzled by the overall sound, you’ll be floored by the technique.

Armed once again with his trusty Ibanez AZ2204F, Fernandes makes light work of what the regular layman would spend years grappling with: lightning-fast muted strums for percussive flair and octave-hopping harmonic chimes are just two of the many show-stopping tricks Fernandes includes.

“With Portrait,” he explained, “I imagined myself putting on a mask of enthusiasm and hiding from my problems. Lyrically, the song tells a tale of arrogance and a twisted self-image – a king who wants to be perceived as perfect, and therefore tries to hide his obvious flaws from himself. 

“The portrait he has made of himself shows him as he really is, and confronts him with his true face."

The band – whose lineup is completed by David Levy, Christoph Schultz and Leon Pfeifer – also added, "With Portrait, we show the unwavering, gritty core of the band. That side has always and will always be part of us, no matter what the musical context."

Unprocessed Portrait artwork

(Image credit: Unprocessed)

There’s no official word regarding Unprocessed’s upcoming studio effort, apart from the vague news that it’s slated for an early 2022 release.

When it arrives, it will be the band’s fourth studio album, and their first since 2019’s Artificial Void. If the first three singles are anything to go by, it will be Unprocessed's most pop-tuned effort to date, following the heavier nature of their previous records.

Fernandes is certainly no stranger to boundary-pushing fretboard pyrotechnics in and outside of the band. Earlier this year, with the help of Polyphia’s Tim Henson, the German guitarist released a blistering rap-shred guitar cover of In the Cut, while R&B-inspired romp, Real, dropped in 2020.

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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.