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Of Bones & Skulls - 85%

televiper11, December 12th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2014, Digital, Independent

I have never been a bigger collector or fan of demos. I usually just prefer to hear the finished product. Very few demos manage to catch my interest but one in particular has stood out of late: Gateway's Aeternae, a three-song demo that sounds as fully formed as any professionally released EP.

Gateway's music is a stunning agglomeration of death-doom tropes made new, breathing sick new life into an old corpse with anvil weight riffs, grim hooks, and truly abysmal vocals. Most impressive to me is that Gateway is a one-man band with programmed drums. The drum programming actually adds a nice death-industrial wrinkle to the music, having that hammering staccato effect not dissimilar to the machine work on old Godflesh and Dead World albums. The final result sounds like a cross between those bands and the earliest, heaviest work of Coffins & Hooded Menace. Little flourishes stand out too: odd, cold hints of mournful melody, a brief synth intro that reminded me of Goblin, a guitar production sounds like it was run through a synth -- these little details help keep the ear fascinated. The songwriting is generally strong too, and would improve with further releases. Anyone with an ear for death-doom really needs to check out Gateway.