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More pressure on the thumbscrews - 71%

gasmask_colostomy, May 25th, 2019

Gateway's unorthodox formula of doom-scented death metal seems to work better in smaller doses. The 40 minute self-titled debut left a little to be desired in the saminess of its approach despite a potent reek of horror emanating from every down-tuned chug and growl. Sights of Malevolence barely survives for 10 minutes, so needs to make good use of the time, which is thankfully achieved. The main feature is a five minute song of the same substance found on the debut, while the B-side is a cover of 'Mindscrape', from the debut album of US death doom metallers Cianide.

The opening of 'Sights of Malevolence' seems more violent and energetic than is usual for Gateway, the pace and ballast of the guitar at odds with the exceedingly swampy sound. Percussion plays a heavy part in the early stomp, a hooky riff bending its way into my skull between apocalyptic melody and vigorous chugging. The second half of the song descends into menacing slow chords and growls that (in the natty words of No Clean Singing) "sound like a giant crocodile being strangled". The ambience remains even though the destructive power of the introduction departs. Slightly frustratingly, 'Mindscrape' goes much the same way, an initially crushing doom riff using all the weight and spreading scope of the fat guitar and bass, although grooves take over with a kind of mechanistic predictability. I feel that the steady percussion (Robin van Oyen is assisted by technology in completing this part of his solo project) is to the detriment of these creeping sections, since an uneasy tension can be maintained by some well-positioned fills or even the occasional missed beat.

Other than the strong start to both tracks, Sights of Malevolence doesn't have any moments of inspiration and comes close to falling flat in the long period of slow riffing on the cover song. For a single that bears such remarkable artwork as this, the notion that torture can be constantly renewed and yet everlasting fails to materialize musically; however, the moments when the thumbscrews are applied tightest hit the spot very nicely.