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A Small Gem - 90%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, March 6th, 2008

I believe that Gates Of Ishtar are one of the most overlooked bands in death metal. There’s no excuse for not knowing them. They started as melodic death metal one with blackened touch during the great first album, to turn into a more At The Gates oriented style in this last album. The production is sharp and all the instruments are brilliant and well audible.

The up tempo, typical of this genres in a track like “Wounds”, are perfectly mixed with more melodic breaks where the band really shows the skills in this genre. The impact is never considered the most important thing in their sound but it’s a natural support to the sad melodies that make this genre and this album a real, small cult.

Every track has a sad melody in the guitars, even if it’s masked under violence and aggressive parts. The refrain on “The Nightfall” is damn good, as the following sad solo. The emotions that these parts give to me is something indescribable; it’s like being in front of a lonely landscape only with your music, reflecting on the sad side of your life. These tracks are always very good and even an excellent one like the title track is blown away by the great “Battles To Come” with a great epic feeling and fast bass drum work.

Even a two minute track like “The Burning Sky” is based on melody even if the drums are on non-stop blast beats. Great fucking melodic death!! There are some keys melodies too that we can find on “Never Alone Again” along with good tempo changes and if you can go beyond the blast beats on “Always” you can really hear great heartbreaking melodies with a despair break from the middle to the end.

“Forever Beach” is a sort of keys/guitars outro that sets end to a small cult in the underground that any melodic death metal fan should at least have heard talking about.