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Gatekeeper - East of Sun

East of Sun
by Tatianny Ruiz at 20 May 2018, 4:44 PM

It took until finally "East of Sun" the album of the Canadian band GATEKEEPER gained the light, or would say, the place in the darkness of the new line of Heavy metal. Since its founding in 2009 as the solo project of Jeff Black until this release has been years between EPs and Splits, but finally the wait was worth it and today we can contemplate the eight tracks of this work forged between swords and dragons. Jeff Black formed GATEKEEPER in the hazy haze as a replica of everything that happens on a musical level in the Alberta prairies. In a field dominated by blast beats, medium scoopers and vocalists who could not find a melody in a shopping bag, GATEKEEPER kept away from the modernity of the new Metal scene, continuing the legacy given by such luminaries as Robert E. Howard, BATHORY, Frank Frazetta, MANOWAR, CANDLEMASS, and MANILLA ROAD.

Starting from the blazing “Blade of Cimmeria” with powerful riffs, traditional drums and vocals with sharp treble the band shoots a ton of energy in the first 3:17 minutes of the song, declining to a more cadenced tune in "North Wolves" with backing vocals which generate a momentary atmosphere over the Old School line. Lying on "Ninefold Muse" you'll have some time to breathe in between condensed melodies in a deep epic chant driven by the fervent drum-line beats, and I just love how the more emotional moments fit the "Bell of Tarantia" as a call to warriors this sounds mystical and brings you to a solo carved with the treble of Jean-Pierre. With the new wave of bands that have lifted traditional Heavy Metal from the ashes, it is not surprising to see the millimeter quality played in this album, that detail that I mention about each one in its proper place is well used in this album, a good example of this is the title track "East of Sun", only leaving a slight gap between more voracious and more solemn bands, which takes a little energy from the listener but that in quality aspect this is at a very high level if we consider the style to the letter.

Perhaps if you imagine passing the first track that the entire album will retain the same energy then you may feel a little disappointed but if your ears are directed in the line of the tales from the north then everything will be perfectly in place and “Swan Road Saga” will take you to breathe the air from the fronts of medieval battles and all the passion for honor and glory of Heavy Metal. But not all energy has been released from this release since the opening track and much in this climactic wartime still appears in "Oncoming Ice" with its introduction of infantry, an epic and mystical song, where the melodies become almost reflexive. The CD version also features two bonus tracks "Death Rider" and "Hall Of The Mountain King." Finishing this review in a general way I can say that this is a dynamic album but that it follows the fervent spirit of Heavy Metal to the razor's edge, so do not be surprised if you confuse this album with some relic of the 80's, however the quality recording, mastering and mixing is really fabulous.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Blade of Cimmeria
2. North Wolves
3. Warrior Without Fear
4. Ninefold Muse
5. Bell of Tarantia
6. East of Sun
7. Swan Road Saga
8. Oncoming Ice
Jean-Pierre Abboud - Vocals
Geoff Blackwell - Guitars
Kenny Kroecher - Guitars
David Messier - Bass
Tommy Tro – Drums
Record Label: Cruz del Sur Music


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Edited 28 March 2023

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