STAR.GATE, heavy / power metal band from Thessaloniki, Greece are back with their fourth album, “The Dream”. I have been listening to the album quite meticulously for the past few days and I have been thinking about some facts that make this band so special, and I’d like to share some with you before focusing on the album itself.
STAR.GATE is one of those very few bands that actually manage to approach the neoclassical power metal sound in a very specific, inspired, straightforward and “to the point” way: pure talent and substance are the main two features in this band’s song writing. Yes, I have written it in the past and I will write it again as songwriting should be the main focus for every band and album out there. If songwriting is poor, sorry, it leads nowhere…
Having all the above in my mind -based on the band’s so far discography- I came into the conclusion that song writing is once again the most important feature in this new album. I can assure you that STAR.GATE have done a magnificent job in here. In “The Dream”, you will be able to listen a perfectly balanced mixture of Melodic Heavy Metal and Neoclassical Power Metal. I can for sure point that this record includes some of the most catchy and memorable songs I have heard lately. Songs that will stick in your mind for sure. And don’t get me wrong, when we deal with Melodic Heavy Metal and Neoclassical Power Metal we actually search for such songs right? Right…
Band’s spiritual father and bassist Kostas Domenikiotis composes having into his mind complete songs from start to finish. You will realize this if you take a close listening on each composition. You will notice how smoothly the song parts are combined together, each song: a complete little musical vision that is able to make you want to press the play button again and again. Fun fact: Yes! The very first time I heard the album I faced the “difficulty” described bellow: I was listening to some particular tunes and I was finding myself going back to the particular tunes, pressing the play button to listen them again and again before I would finally move forward to the next tune. Is it love at first sight? No it is love at first hearing!
It is obvious that ROYAL HUNT is a big influence in here and I mean their golden -from the start until Paradox album- era. Domenikiotis is seriously approaching the good vibe of the Danish Metallers music, using all its good elements to finally create something of his own. Yes the straight strength of Melodic Heavy Metal, the majesty of Neoclassical Power Metal and this overall combination under a pop song writing are features only to be found on the STAR.GATE magic!
You will be able to listen some amazing guitar work in this album. Anthemm Manti have recorded some amazing pieces of lead parts and solos. However I have to point out that shredding is not the main point on this album. STAR.GATE want to deliver REAL songs and not a demonstration of guitar craftsmanship. And I seriously point this because there are albums out there that simply present some recorded shredding. No, “The Dream” album includes real, completed songs that have been enforced by the magnificent playing of Anthemm Manti who at the end of the day released some heavenly solos in here. So yes it is a double win folks: Great songs. Great solos. Do you want more?
Ok lets make some reference to the amazing drum playing of Stergios Kourou (WARDRUM, HORIZON’S END), the musical portrait which is painted by keyboard melodies provided by the one and only Sakis Bandis (HORIZON’S END, HAIL SPIRIT NOIR). And the real amazing vocals of John Jeff Touch. Well in my opinion this is best line up of STAR.GATE so far.
Favorite songs? Well it is very difficult to choose favorite songs from this little masterpiece. “Dream” is one of those records that you are listening from start to finish being completely unable to skip a single tune. Try to prove me wrong in here. Take the CD, put it in your car and go for a nice drive under the sunshine. You will be unable to skip a single tune. And yes “The Dream” is made for such nice sunshine trips. The colors of the sky would perfectly much with the colors of the music!
But… if you STILL want me to point specific songs I would share with you the tunes that got me stuck on my headphones being unable to press the forward button, the very first time I heard the album: The “Stargate” magnum opus and also “Shameless War”, “Miracle”, “Living For The Dream”, “Part Of the Rainbow” and “Best Night Of My Life”.
To sum things up: This is the best STAR.GATE album so far. And one of the most “catchy” albums of the year. If you want some melodic, powerful and majestic Metal, buy this one. If you do not like it, I will buy your copy, contact me anytime. Seriously.