Anubis Gate is described in the promo pack as "metal with beautiful soundscapes" and this is an apt description of their sound.
There is a heaviness in the distorted downtuned metal riffing, and a beauty in the crystal clear vocals and ambient keyboards. The opening track 'Hold Back Tomorrow' is a blend of melodic keys and vocals by bassist Henrik Fevre layered over the crunching guitars of Jesper M. Jensen. The melody is uplifting and easy to digest for those who like their metal a bit lighter than some of the darker metal that is being churned out of the machine. On 'The Re-Formation Show' there is a great odd progressive time sig made of chunky guitar staccato blasts, and the melodic vocals and keys balance out beautifully. I love the harmonies and the interplay of guitar and keys competing against each other. This one also features a wonderful lead break that reverberates against another guitar harmonising perfectly, and as it builds the metal riffs return creating a wall of sound. This is an awesome song well worth checking out to find out what the band are capable of.
'Facing Dawn' has a driving tempo from the percussion work of Morten Sørensen, and some great riffs over Fevre's pulsing bassline. The time sig is again quirky and chops and changes with tension and release. The harmonised chorus is anthemic and well accomplished. The keyboard solo from Kim Olesen, who also plays guitars, is fabulous, and augments the melodies so well.
'World in a Dome' has a mechanised percussive rhythm that gives it an edge and then some grinding distorted guitars blaze away. It settles into some melodic vocals from Fevre, and eventually a chugging riff locks in. the keys lift up the atmosphere majestically in the chorus along with harmonies. I love the metal precision riffing on this and the way it builds to the instrumental break. The break is very serene keyboards and acoustics at first and gradually leads to an uptempo double kick drumming and another enduring riff to a lead solo. The time sig gets faster at the end, the drumming especially and it caps off an album highlight. The 8:22 song has enough time changes to satiate any prog metal addict.
'Desiderio Omnibus' follows with breakneck speed drums and heavy riffs. It breaks when the verses begin but there is still a relentless speed on this one, sounding as fast as Dragonforce at times. The twin lead break is glorious and the guitars trade off solos like Megadeth or Iron Maiden. It ends with swirling spacey keys and chimes, very atmospheric and ethereal.
'Oh My Precious Life' has a guitar intro with a darker sound embellished with symphonic keys and an off kilter signature. It builds dramatically to the verses, and a crunchy riff. The vocals are crisp as usual and they balance well with the incessant dirty guitar sound. The tempo is measured and steady and tends to break rhythm unexpectantly. The fast speed riff during the lead solo is captivating and a head banger's delight. Then it breaks the sig back to the main tempo to end with a keyboard swirl that stops abruptly.
'Golden Days' has a strong beat that is slow and layered with dramatic outbursts of guitar and keys. The lyrics are about going back to the golden days, "I hunger for success" and "I find myself invisible, collecting golden days, I could be king, I could be anything" perhaps channelling the thoughts of all band members wishing to break out. The lead solo is mixed to the back along a soundscape of keyboards. The vocals are commensurate to the powerful melodies, with Fevre singing "my time has come" like a cry out for the greatness of the past. This is also the type of feeling that might be locked inside the elderly remembering their youth, "it's the final stage I'm in, I see the light that somehow mesmirise".
'Telltale Eyes' is another fast track beginning with a flurry of guitar riffs and electronic effects. The galloping riffs are precise and breakneck speed along a very unusual time sig. This is fantastic music and again the vocals are clean but no less powerful as some of the growling vocals that usually accompanies fast metal. This is more like Helloween or Iron Maiden style vocals but the music is like Dream Theater or Dragonforce. The riffs continue to bludgeon the scape and then a trade off of synths and lead guitar dominate the instrumental break. One of my favourite songs on this album.
'River' has an atmospheric haunting feel and the intro is creepy and mystical. The drums and guitars take over soon with speedy tempos. The synths are dreamy and quite chilling, and this is a dark river that we are journeying down no doubt. The instrumental section works well after all the vocals previously and at less than 4 minutes in length this is a very well structured track. Fevre's vocals come in briefly later and are echoed and distant like the music itself.
'Circumstanced' ends the album with a slower song at first driven by melodic keys and guitars with Fevre singing in a high register and as crystal clear as one can get, not a single shred of growl in his delivery. There are some weird sounds on this track adding to the atmospheres. The melancholy lyrics are about unrequited love; "Everytime I close my eyes I see you coming back to me." Again, the song features some symphonic key pads and odd time changes. The lead break is emotionally charged to augment the sadness of the song where "nothing seems to matter no more". The song lasts for 9:23 running time and switches into a heavier feel at about the 7 minute mark.
In conclusion, Anubis Gate have produced a solid quality album with enough metal to appease headbangers and enough epic prog melodies and time sigs to conciliate proggers. I was very impressed with the blend of metal and prog and especially the vocals. Fevre is an exceptional singer and really shines on this album. "Anubis Gate" is a prog metal release well worth seeking out.