|Folk Rock, Heavy Metal
Cruz del Sur Music
October 24th, 2014
Release length: 41:17
Mausoleum Gate kicks off with “Magic of the Gypsy Queen”, a Heavy Metal cut that Iron Maiden would be proud of. Well, for the most part. The eerie laughter and a church organ behind it make up the minute long introduction, setting the tone well for the magical theme captured in infectious hooks that become far more epic and richer in the chorus, as well as a nice Folk touch incorporated through the keyboards. While this is a catchy performance, the analog audio quality doesn’t help the fairly empty drumming, and the echo effect used on the otherwise solid clean singing just comes off as a gimmick. Had the effect been turned down, it wouldn’t have come off as comical and better suit the album, something the rest of the album greatly benefits from.
“Mercenaries of Steel” is one of the few other straight forward NWOBHM cuts, and the restraint in the echo greatly works out. The subtle presence from the bass guitar helps keep the melodic hooks of the main verses engaging, not to mention help fill the gaps in the chorus the drums and guitars would otherwise leave vacant. While the lyrical content screams mainly Metal and anthems of steel, you can’t help but sense a Science Fiction presence behind most of it that not only appears from time to time elsewhere, but helps make this cut a little more unique. Even the Progressive organ keyboards at the end are an interesting touch that seamlessly shifts things into the far more aggressive “There Must Be Demons”. The attitude behind the guitars perfectly play up the darker, insanity themed lyrics as well, not to mention the brief change in vocal dynamics and brief Doom Metal pacing around three-and-a-half minutes in, making for one of the more memorable tracks.
“Demon Droid” shows the band directly shifting more into the Rock realm. There’s a slight grittiness in the Glam Rock riffs and subtle Heavy Metal chords that line certain bridges. The raw analog quality of the album helps play up a dark intimacy that the lighter echo effect on the vocals helps nurture, offering glimmers of Stoner Rock at points like the section nearing the two minute mark. “Lost Beyond the Sun” plays that aspect up quite a lot, though as you reach five minutes in you’re thrown back towards the sixties to early seventies era of Folk Rock, akin to something like “In the Year 2525” by Zager & Evans. Finally there’s “Mausoleum Gate”, the nearly twelve minute performance that encapsulates everything the band is about without really having to pad itself out. Superb transitions in and out of styles, like shifting from vintage Heavy Metal to a more Progressive approach before moving along slowly in a beautiful Folk Rock passage complete with acoustic guitars.
While Mausoleum Gate is one of the most heavily varied nods to vintage Metal and Rock you could possibly come upon lately, it all works out so well thanks to the bands ability to flow smoothly from one sound to another and keep within a grand Heavy Metal or haunting Folk Rock foundation. Even when pushing towards or well into the double digits of track length, there’s very little filler to be found if any. The only major gripe really is how loud the echo on the vocals happens to be during “Magic of the Gypsy Queen”, an otherwise fairly solid performance. What’s more, this is simply a very unique album. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a band that formed in the past ten years who went so far as to take true Folk Rock compositions and blend them in with Iron Maiden and Angelwitch grade hooks. So, if you’re looking for something truly different that will have you hooked fairly early on the first spin, Mausoleum Gate is a must hear.
01. Magic of the Gypsy Queen – 4:29
02. Demon Droid – 4:25
03. Lost Beyond the Sun – 9:12
04. Mercenaries of Steel – 6:05
05. There Must Be Demons – 5:13
06. Mausoleum Gate – 11:55
|Initial Pressing Score: 9/10
via Clawhammer PR.