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Underrated - 80%

Etiam, November 15th, 2005

So, somebody tell me, why doesn't anyone ever talk about these guys? For all the complaining about Gothenburg clones, people really don't seem to dig too far to find what's beneath the surface. Gates of Ishtar is a melodic death metal band from Sweden, who started back in the mid-ninties (sounds like every other band, right?) Two of the band members' names even share at least part of it with another member from Dark Tranquillity. But, that's where the real similarities ends and the music starts.

Drawing influences from all across the board, from Darkthrone style black metal to punk (I'm serious here) to thrash, Gates of Ishtar forged ahead and blazed a new path that many bands would follow in the footsteps of.
So then, you ask 'why should I go looking for that stuff when I can go buy the new Children of Bodom with sparklign production at Tower records?'
Because this is the stuff that started it all. And, in this reviewer's humble opinion, it's better. Lacking the commercialism or the over the top mixing of their future cohorts, Gates of Ishtar have presented us with a gritty and emotional debut, filled with quality song after quality song. That's these guys' MO- consistanty. Though there may be faster more brutal versions of this style, there's what can only be described as more soul to A Bloodred Path and the following two albums release before the band's break up after their third release. Headbangers, grooves, straight up thrashers, the full blown death metal assault, it's all here.

Overall, if you like original and highly melodic death metal, you may not think this is it, but it's almost ten years old, remember, and what better way to listen to Gothenburg than to listen to some of the first? And upon second listening, and each thereafter, you will hear more and more what makes these guys the underground (but still underappreciated) cult icon they are.