From their demo day’s Gatekeeper from Canada have been a touch special. They are one of those groups who may be labelled as a particular sub-genre of metal, but travel well between high standards of a fair few descriptions. In this case, epic metal with a touch of NWoBHM inspiration. The former is more prevalent for this new opening track ‘Grey Maiden’. The EP itself, a follow up to their debut album, is a release that will support their forthcoming UK and European tour.
So ‘Grey Maiden’ itself rattles your cage and invites a vast amount of homage to masters of epic metal. The presentation and sound is full on in your face and shows a great deal of development since their very early recordings. The second track ‘Tale of Twins’ is a re-recording of a demo tune when they were more epic doom laden (for me akin to Solstice), whilst the third track is an acoustic interpretation ‘Moss’. For this, vocalist Jean-Pierre Abboud (also of Traveler) gives an outstanding display. Full of power and strength and I feel I hear the emotion, the pain, and the will to sing for all his worth at some points. The final track ‘Richard III’ is a cover of NWoBHM band Tredegar, a Welsh band formed out of ex-members of Budgie. Obscure yes, for the cool factor? I don’t think so. Gatekeeper’s covers have been very fitting to their own music as they have progressed, this one is a fair representation of their influence.
I always feel cheated with EP’s, I want more, especially when really strong as ‘Grey Maiden’ is! Gatekeeper have their debut album that came out recently, so you need to check that out but as a quick release, this is a good indication of the band and a good starting point for those who don’t know of this band yet. As an added bonus, they will be in the UK very soon.
(8/10 Paul Maddison)