Style: Epic Heavy Metal
Similar bands: Eternal Champion, Atlantean Kodex, DoomSword
Release date: 27.04.2018
Label: Cruz del Sur Music
The following biographical data on GATEKEEPER should raise the interest of every Epic Metal fan: ATLANTEAN KODEX are supporters of the band, they have recorded a split-EP with ETERNAL CHAMPION, their singer was previously active in BORROWED TIME and they performed at the Keep It True Festival this year. And if that’s not enough, let it be said that the Canadians’ debut album can easily keep up with the bands mentioned above.
Don’t be fooled by the opener “Blade of Cimmeria” (which was also used for the first music video), because you could easily get the impression that GATEKEEPER are a classic Heavy Metal band with Speed Metal elements. It’s a great song that goes straight forward, but it’s not representative of the album. And yet it already shows that GATEKEEPER should be given attention. In addition, the song undeniably demonstrates that the Canadians do not rely solely on sluggish songs, as a lot of Epic Metal bands do. To the barbaric sounds of old-school MANOWAR in “North Wolves” and “Warrior Without Fear” you may finaly grap your battle axe and storm into a glorious bloodshed. “Ninefold Muse” could just as well be a song by ATLANTEAN KODEX. My personal album’s highlight “Bell of Tarantia” is at full throttle, without losing even a bit of epicness. By the way, this song is a good example of the terrific new singer Jean-Pierre Abboud, because if you compare the album’s version of the song with the version from 2015, you will discover a whole new level of passion in it. Fun fact: the song was released on a split-EP with the band FUNERAL CIRCLE, in which Abboud was active at the time. The following song-triple can easily be described as an epic hattrick (the songs have a bit more of Doom to them and are reminescent of SOLSTICE and DOOMSWORD) and thus makes the second half of the album a lot more consistent than its somewhat undirected first half.
If you read the name dropping above, you might easily assume that GATEKEEPER are just good imitators. That’s not true, of course. They can do that quite well (as shown by the cover songs of OMEN and SAVATAGE, which are exclusively included on the CD version), but they also bring their very own ideas to the genre. Despite all their epicness, they seldom step on the brakes too hard and the guitar work is sometimes quite unusual for the genre. You may even discover a bit of early BLIND GUARDIAN on the album, which is not realy surprising, as three out of the five band members play in a BLIND GUARDIAN tribute band. Jean-Pierre Abboud’s voice is not only reminiscent of Eric Adams (MANOWAR), but also adds a certain crankiness, which gives GATEKEEPER a sympathetic underground charm. This band may not always sound perfect, but shows passion to the maximum.
As a shortcoming of the album, its production must be cited, because it’s not well balanced and weakens the rhythm fraction. Also, I would have expected a punchier sound to match the epicness of the songs. On top, you can clearly hear that the material comes from different phases of the band. But that will surely be better with the next album.
Shoulder your battle axe, saddle your horse and go on an epic adventure to the soundtrack of “East of Sun”!