If you can imagine a Minotaur crawling through a swamp during a tempestuous storm in 1256 then you can pretty much envisage just how dark, heavy and medieval Gateway’s self-titled debut release is. Packed chock full of crushing riffs and chilling vibes, this is an album that is set to pave the way for niche, extreme noise in the coming year.
It is clear to any listener that a very wide variety of influences have been drawn upon in the creation of Gateway. The album reaches giant tortoise-esque levels of slowness at points that are not too far removed from drone such as Sunn 0))). Furthermore doom influences can be found in the form of modern doom trio Conan, with Gateway possessing the same tenacious, elongated riffs and chugging undertones. Gateway are a stereotypically perfect band for Bristol’s Temple festival and would also fit right in on the prestigious Valley stage at Hellfest.
Now despite being suitably glum and doomy, Gateway masterfully incorporates the brutality of death metal into the album too. The vocals are insanely deep and guttural and there’s plenty of intense aggression throughout the album. Track five Corrumpert Interludium and seven Hollow are definitely the most death orientated tracks on the album, which are a fraction faster than the previous efforts on the album and Robin van Oyen’s rumbling, guttural vocal’s set the tracks off a treat. The album’s whole undertone of menace and darkness as a whole really helps to give it that intense, death metal edge that prevents it being solely a doom release.
Gateway has a brilliant emotive quality to it too. Eighth track The Shores of Daruk is ten glorious minutes of sorrowful, gloomy doom and is probably the most intense offering on the album. The Shores of Daruk is the real show stopper on Gateway, with plenty of inaudible vocals and dark, gloomy power, the track takes the listener on a long and slow walk through a vat of morbid molasses.
Gateway’s first full length release is quintessential death doom from start to finish. The album possesses an almost lethal dose of chilling atmosphere and heaviness throughout and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser for anyone who likes their doom darker and heavier than a gothic mammoth wading through a pitch black forest at 1am in the middle of winter. Belgian medieval death doom is one hell of a beautifully monstrous noise and is set to fill a void in the doom metal world nicely.
(7/10 Eilish Foxen)