Anubis Gate: Anubis Gate

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Anubis Gate: Anubis Gate
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Anubis Gate: Anubis Gate
Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal
Nightmare Records
September 13th, 2011
Release length: 1:02:14
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Anubis Gate is one of those bands that are a little unique in their own right, more due to the atmospheric traits surrounding their music then the actual music being played. After a number of releases through Locomotive Records, the band signed a deal with Nightmare Records to issue their fifth full-length recording, and with a strong feedback from press and fans alike on their previous efforts, one can only expect another strong, atmosphere-driven release from the group. The band formed back in 2001 and hails from Denmark, playing a mixture of Heavy Metal with a darker Gothic Rock and even Progressive Metal touch to it that gives the group a somewhat more unique sound. But does Anubis Gate end up being another solid effort from the group that will make fans of the style stand up and take notice, or will this stick to the shadows for good reason?

While the album does have a bit of a darker sound to it, the audio quality definitely feels more like a digital, modern day recording. The guitars sounds pretty heavy with a strong bass presence that’s rather loud and can be heard nicely mixed in with the guitars, especially during some of the bass heavy moments and songs like “Facing Dawn”, to give the music a deeper edge against some of it’s higher pitched elements such as the clean vocals and their rather higher pitch similar to something fans of more Progressive Rock acts or bands like Queensryche will be familiar with. The drums sound pretty strong too with nice thick sounding snares, bass kicks with a good click, and cymbols that chime through nicely. While this works for the Heavy Metal and Progressive Metal inputs of the recording, it’s actually a little shocking to see how it all works out during the darker, more Gothic Rock sounding tracks and it’s ability to still weave together a darker, yet rather sleek and stylish atmosphere to the track.

“Hold Back Tomorrow” starts the release off, and it really does send a curveball to the listeners. While much of the album does have a heavier Progressive Metal touch to it as far as the atmosphere goes, this track shows what appears to be some heavy influence from latter Beseech as far as the keyboards at the start of the track go, and Entwine through the rest of the track. Coupled with the group’s more Heavy Metal approach, the song does have a bit of a unique stance, but fans of these two bands or their style in general will not be completely impressed, but even then the song offers solid, atmospheric music and a heavy impact from the bass, especially the drop at the start of the song. Much of the track really feels heavy and moving, but the chorus is somewhat different thanks to it’s more soothing performance all around that you could close your eyes and feel like you’re somewhere else entriely. Even “The Re-Formation Show” has traces of this style in the music, though it has a heavier Progressive Metal quality to it in the long run, and it once again really does strike out more original, though influences from bands like Queensryche and even Fate’s Warning are still pretty strong in the overall sound. But, despite that, this song really better establishes what to expect from the album, which is a much richer experience compared to “Hold Back Tomorrow”.

Much of Anubis Gate really does have a bit of a darker side to it, but there are some that just really stand out more then others. The first three tracks of this release, especially “Facing Dawn”, really just have a lighter, more upbeat interpretation of that darkness, but the first song to really have it shine through is the song “World in a Dome”, and it’s songs like this that really shine through the most on this recording. The chorus does give the song a breath of fresh air, but before that, the main verses just have a rather crushing sound to the dismal, near melancholic atmosphere of the song that aids the nearly eight and a half minute song keep the listener attentive from start to finish. But sadly these kinds of songs are stricly limited, and for the most part the album is geared towards a more uplifting atmosphere to the songs. However, this does set in a bit of a pattern for the band. Despite how light or heavy that darker atmosphere is, it never goes beyond the main verses, and the chorus always feel more spiritual or uplifting. This all starts after “Hold Back Tomorrow” since the first doesn’t really meet at either spectrum to the same extent as say “The Re-Formation Show” or “World in a Dome”. Of course there is a bit of a reprieve from this with some songs like “Golden Days” where the whole track is more lighter and uplifting without any real darker elements to them outside maybe a few keyboards that give off a very slight tinge to it in that approach. Luckily there’s no real problems witht he album, or even a single song on here that’s boring or has some issues aside the similarities found in “Hold Back Tomorrow” and how dramatically different the song is, so while the album does get a bit predictable until towards the end, it’s never dull.

Aside the aforementioned “Hold Back Tomorrow”, the only songs on here that really doesn’t seem to follow the uplifting chorus and heavy everything else pattern is the track “Telltale Eyes” and “River”. “Telltale Eyes” is rather surprising given the rest of the release as it starts off with a really heavy foundation and just keeps at it. There are brief moments before the chorus that focus more on the keyboards and become slower and even have a slightly Techno feel to it, but they work with the overall heavy presence. The track also features the only breakdown on the album and, honestly, it works well for the song, sticking more to the heavier sound without really slowing the pace or destroying the flow of the album in any way. “River” is more an instrumental piece, but it does throw some vocals your way close to the end. It retains more of a majestic, gloomy feeling to the music, almost Middle Eastern sounding, and it does bleed into the final track, “Circumstanced”, which is the longest track off the recording thanks to some wind sound effects used to link the two together.

Anubis Gate may end up a bit patterned, but the band does a great job at keeping the music engaging from the start of the album until the very end, which is something very hard to find today. Anubis Gate really uses their atmosphere well to keep the music strong and emotionally driven, whether it’s the uplifting material or the stylish darker sound they use for everything but the chorus. Sure, the darker and heavier passages here are often far more enjoyable, and the mixture of these two can sometimes clash with each other a bit, but in the end it all leads to an album that is largely focused ont he quality of the music moreso, but also giving each song enough varying material to keep them sounding distinctive from one track to another. If you’ve been a fan of Anubis Gate in the past, then there is no reason to not check this release out. Even if you never heard of the band before, despite some of the pattern compositions, this album is a fantastic listen that fans of Progressive Metal will surely embrace with open arms.

01. Hold Back Tomorrow – 7:16
02. The Re-Formation Show – 6:31
03. Facing Down – 5:09
04. World in a Dome – 8:23
05. Desiderio Omnibus – 4:54
06. Oh My Precious Life – 5:10
07. Golden Days – 6:38
08. Telltale Eyes – 4:56
09. River – 3:53
10. Circumstanced – 9:25
Overall Score: 8.5/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by Nightmare Records.