GATEKEEPER - East Of Sun
April 17, 2018, a month ago
(Cruz Del Sur)
Unreleased material, plus updated live favorites comprise the initial studio full-length from this Canadian outfit. Few albums come (literally) screaming out of the, ahem, gate, like Gatekeeper. Although the promo literature name checks Manilla Road, Manowar and Atlantean Kodex, the opening "Blade Of Cimmeria" is a speedy, twin guitar traditional metal number, at times bordering on thrash/speed. A more lumbering "North Wolves" is more in, ahem, keeping, with the aforementioned, especially the latter, with the out-of-nowhere appearance of a subtle, acoustic guitar passage. "Warrior Without Fear" rides a bouncy, aggro guitar rhythm similar to Judas Priest and/or early Omen. As the disc progresses, the alternating pattern: between slower/heavy and speedy, more high end vocals, emerges, with the length frequently eclipsing 6+ minutes. "Bell Of Tarantia" and "Swan Road Saga" feel like they could have been Falconer outtakes. And that's no small compliment! Near falsetto to start the title track, but it never rises above mid-tempo.
Speaking of Omen, a fairly faithful reworking of their "Death Rider" is one of two notable, old school bonus tracks available on the CD: the other, an ambitious rendering of Savatage's "Hall Of The Mountain King". Classic metal, but not the usual touchstones. Experiment, if you dare.