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Grim Reaper – At The Gates

Grim Reaper
At The Gates
by John Paul Romero at 18 October 2019, 10:49 PM

GRIM REAPER has been around for over twenty years now and released three albums since their debut in 1983 before unleashing “Walking In The Shadows” in 2016, ten years after they reunited. This year, they are presenting their fifth incarnation “At The Gates” via Dissonance Productions.

The album tiptoes through the line between NWOBHM and Hard Rock and somehow relives that 80’s vibe while injecting some modern elements in it. It has good riffs and decent solos, although that one riff in “Venom” was recycled for six more songs in the album. It’s a pretty cool riff, and you can say that it is an effective move. However, as expected, it resulted to seven songs with minimal variety. Some riffs are mainly inspired by JUDAS PRIEST, while the songwriting somewhat follows the AC/DC style.

One thing I can’t ignore here is Steve’s rather tired vocals. It is very evident that he is struggling so much to hit those high notes, plus his lungs can no longer house a lot of gas. That flaw together with the repetitive riffs made this album really disappointing after a rather decent start with “At The Gates”. The energy and excitement in that song is decently on a high level, and it only spiraled down as you reach the final track. Besides that, there is one interesting song in the album – “Rush”. It is very well produced and the songwriting is on a higher level.

The album, despite having some blazing solos is a rather tired and uninspired attempt to revive the good ol’ 80’s. It’s a clear case of “we miss the 80’s but we can’t do it as good anymore”. Although to be fair – the production has a good balance of classic and modern elements in it. But the songwriting and the overall performance have some serious flaws splattered all over the album.

Songwriting: 3
Originality: 5
Memorability: 3
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. At The Gates
2. Venom
3. What Lies Beneath
4. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
5. A Knock at the Door
6. Rush
7. Only When I Sleep
8. Line Them Up
9. Breakneck Speed
10. Under The Hammer
11. Shadow In the Dark
Lineup:
Ian Nash – Guitars
Steve Grimmett – Vocals
Julian Hill – Bass
Mark Pullin – Drums
Record Label: Dissonance Productions
     


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