GATEKEEPER rocked the scene some years ago, as Canada’s answer to ETERNAL CHAMPION and VISIGOTH. In fact, quite a time before their debut album they had already established themselves as a promising act with a series of interesting underground releases (demo-ep). However, their debut album despite its inspiration and intensity, I felt that it lacked the power to stand above their “antagonists” and leave its mark.
Yet, this wouldn’t affect GATEKEEPER who continued being vigorous: they released the EP “Grey Maiden”, and now five years after their debut album, it’s time to embark on a new journey “From western shores”.
As I said before, while their debut album kind felt “floppy”, this one is pumped up and I am not talking about the sound’s production, but the songwriting: GATEKEEPER sound more focused and more self-confident in this one. The tracks are pompous, more grandiose as if the band felt that the classic metal influences should give space to more epic ones.
GATEKEEPER follow a path carved by ETERNAL CHAMPION and VISIGOTH but not quite on its exact trail: the most epic moments of CIRITH UNGOL are here together with early MANOWAR, a little SAVATAGE, DOOMSWORD, MANILLA ROAD and a little N.W.O.B.H.M. alongside, found in most straight metal songs like “Twisted Towers” and “Death on Black Wings”. The other tracks are slower, mid-tempo with emphasis on the vocal lines. Check out “Exiled kings”, the title track and “Nomads” my absolute favorite track from the album to get an idea.
To be honest, I was quite impressed with the album. As I mentioned, GATEKEEPER sound more self-confident in this one, like a lost wanderer who found its path. The album progresses naturally, and the song rotation offers a pleasant listening. Much weight is given to the vocals: powerful and sentimental, they are the driving force in each song, colored by the polyphonic epic choruses.
I firmly believe that this one is GATEKEEPER’s breath through album, an answer to the ever-growing U.S. epic metal scene. It’s inspired, epic, with a couple of breath-taking moments and an on-going nostalgic epic atmosphere. Don’t miss this one.
What GATEKEEPER have managed to do in their second album is remarkable: They have managed to take their Heavy / Epic installment into the very next level, offering songs that are actually sticking into your mind, very well performed and with great production.
Although I act a little bit sceptically with all this Neo-Epic movement that have somehow marked a specific part of the Metal underground the last decade, I always spin each and every release especially from the key bands of this wave. And yes GATEKEEPER are one of them.
So having their previous efforts in my mind I can assure you that this is their best release so far. Very well built riffng, shining solos and lead guitar parts and a new singer that drives the songs higher and higher. Mr Tyler Anderson has done a perfect job in here.
I would recommend this record to bot the old keeper fans but also to those that never had the chance to check out the band and they are still on the haunt for some sword inspired Steel.
Go and check it! – Chris Papadakis
Check the discussion about the album in our forum pages.