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Star.Gate – The Dream

The Dream
by Santiago Puyol at 05 November 2019, 11:30 PM

STAR.GATE is a Greek Progressive Metal band with Power Metal, Neoclassical and even a dash of Glam Metal influences, providing a symphonic and theatrical edge to their compositions. "The Dream" is their fourth release so far, and it features ten rich-sounding and technically accomplished tracks.

"Stargate" begins with an ominous synth intro that feels straight out of a sci-fi movie soundtrack. Its dramatic vocals and driving rhythm brings it closer to Glam Metal, with a very 1980s-inspired sound. Kostas Domenikiotis lays down some groovy basslines, while Sakis Bandis shows off with an outstanding keyboard solo that would make Keith Emerson proud.

"Shameless War" comes next, anchored on a funky bassline. TALK TALK-inspired synths add a little New Wave flair to its memorable and catchy chorus. Anthemm Manti delivers some tasty shredding. Meanwhile, "Miracle" has the feel of a power-ballad even though it remains upbeat. Singer John Jeff Touch moves between an Alternative Rock inspired vocal delivery and some Classic Metal theatrics, a trick he uses a couple of times on the album. Manti and Bandis provide a one-two punch of progressive, classically inspired guitar and keyboard solos.

The middle third of the album opens with the catchiest riff of the record. "Living for the Dream" is another fun track, with subtle programmed synths and symphonic-tinged keys add texture. A busy rhythm section keeps "Part of the Rainbow" moving, while "Inner Peace" functions as a lovely interlude, with its classically inspired, exquisite guitar playing and subtle PINK FLOYD textures.

"Best Night of my Life" is the last track of the solid middle section, a highlight of "The Dream," and the most Pop-like track here. New Wave influences bleed again on the album, here in an appealing Pop Metal way, sounding closer to a EUROPE hit.

The most original track comes next. "Key to Fantasy" features a nasty, groovy combo of bass and guitar, while guest drummer Stergios Kourou provides a funky, syncopated and even danceable rhythm. The chorus of the tracks takes a more typical Glam Metal route. It is simply a fun and memorable song.

"New Age" ends up being one of the heaviest songs here, even if a little short, while "Abyss" makes for an extremely weird finale, being a bass solo. Although "Abyss" is an interesting track and Domenikiotis is an accomplished player – especially when he gets funky – it feels a lot like an afterthought, as a closer.

The production also puts an emphasis on the tight musicianship of the band, without ever overpowering or drowning the vocals. The presence of the rhythm section is particularly notable, adding a lot to the album as a whole.

Overall, "The Dream" is an accessible and entertaining record with solid, although a bit uneven songwriting. The musicianship is impeccable; the band is truly tight. Touch has a diverse range as a vocalist, going for a Classic Metal delivery on his lines while adding some Glam flair when it comes to harmonies.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Stargate
2. Shameless War
3. Miracle
4. Living for the Dream
5. Part of the Rainbow
6. Inner Peace
7. Best Night of my Life
8. Key to Fantasy
9. New Age
10. Abyss
John Jeff Touch – Vocals
Anthemm Manti – Guitars
Kostas Domenikiotis – Bass
Sakis Bandis – Keyboards
Stergios Kourou – Guest Drums
Record Label: Steel Gallery Records


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