Final Axe is yet another Christian themed Metal act, and it’s really what you would expect. Beyond Hell’s Gate is the first of only two releases the band has issued, with a roughly seventeen year gap between them. Since this was originally an independently released album, the question comes into play as to whether or not this recording is actually going to be worth checking out.
Beyond Hell’s Gate is honestly what you would expect from a band in this style, and pretty much nothing more. While the introductory track “Beyond the Gate” does well to introduce the album’s upcoming first real song, it cannot prepare you for the rather bland material that is bound to hit you shortly after the catchy “Baptized In Blood”. It seems that every track from there gets lighter and lighter, as well as like there is no energy behind the band. By the track “Soldier of Comprimise” you’ll be ready to go take a nap due to the insanely slow and mechanical drumming and guitars, meshed with some very unenthusiastic singing until the very ending when there seems to be a bit more effort put in. Of course, “Blind Faith” suddenly picks things back up with a semi-commanding song filled with some simple guitars (aside the heavy and faster guitar solo) that pumps you up, only to let you get blasted with the annoying experimental drum solo track “Area 51”.
“Area 51” is just one of those tracks that really makes no sense in being there. While drum solos can often be entertaining and impressive, sadly this one isn’t, and only detracts the listener from the flow of the release. Had it not been placed before the jewel track of the release, “Close to Deliverance”, a much faster paced track that comes at you demanding your attention, then the middle section of this effort would have been more entertaining. It’s at this point where the album starts to pick up ith more faster paced material that sounds stronger then “Are You Ready?” through “Soldier of Comprimise”, with the exception of “Don’t Run Away” which is another track that feels like some of the album’s earlier tracks and just isn’t as entertaining as some of the heavier hitting tracks like “Close to Deliverance” and “Blind Faith”.
2010 Collector’s Edition
Beyond Hell’s Gate has been reissued in the past through another label, as well as Retroactive Records in 2005. About five years later, the label brings this one back as a Collector’s Edition with remixed and remastered material, newer artwork [the posted artwork being the second variant artwork published for this recording] in a digipack-like package. However, much like the current string of Collector’s Editions involving the band Titanic, this album has also been re-recorded with Scott Sweet on the drums. While the audio on this CD has never sounded better, to the keen ear it’s obvious that the drums are different and don’t quite match the originally recorded material, sometimes sounding a bit louder then the rest of the material here.
As a whole, Beyond Hell’s Gate is not a bad release at all, but the material could have been stronger at times. While some of the heavier material on here could have been a little heavier as well, if not also a little faster, much of it does come at you with enough intensity to keep you listening past the slower, more Hard Rock oriented tracks that seem to only really flourish through staples and stereotypes of the musical genre from that year. If you’re a fan of late eightie’s Metal and/or Hard Rock, then take the time out to at least sample some of the material that this album has to offer. You may be pleasantly surprised.