|Review: Almora - Gates of Time|
|Gates of Time|
Label: Zihni Müsik
Year released: 2002
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: November 15, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Gates of Time
Rated 3/5 (60%) (3 Votes)
I kept seeing this on various online distros, and as it looked interesting, and was cheap, I picked it up. Whoa! Was I pleasantly surprised. Almora are a band from Istanbul, Turkey of all places, and yes they do use some traditional instruments and folky sounds, but they also show an impressive amount of potential in the metal department.
This is mostly midpaced power metal of the Nightwish or Edenbridge variety, with some folk/medieval-and mideast-sounding arrangements and a mix of male and female vocals. The guitar work here is really first-rate, and the riffing and leads are quite proficient, inventive and catchy. The addition of instruments like flute and violin to metal is always a hit-or-miss affair, and here it hits. Almora are highly talented songwriters with a touch of prog in their approach, as they tend to write longer songs with a lot of changes and instrumental breaks. Despite what you would expect, they don't have a keyboard player, and all the traditional instruments are real, not synth. All the songs are pretty solid, with some fine standout tunes like "Heaven's Fire Gates" with its great riff, and the extremely catchy "Glory Of Time".
If Almora have a weak spot, it would have to be the vocals. They have two singers, a man and a woman. The woman is actually really good, with a fine operatic voice. She sounds more than a little like Pay from Seraphim. But I would say about half the vocals are the guy, and while he isn't bad, he isn't good either. His voice is weak and lacks range or power, in fact I have a hard time understanding why they used him at all. I would have stuck with the girl. Now if they replaced this guy with someone who can really sing, they would sound massive, and this would be a first-rate album. But the prevalence of the weak vocals holds this album back from greatness.
The production is excellent, much better than I would have expected, and the packaging is very professional. With good cover art and a well-done foldout booklet. The lyrics show some language barrier issues, but not too bad.
Overall this is a very good CD that could have been great with some better vocals. A very professional and ambitious effort for a young band from a part of the world that isn't exactly a metal hotbed. I am very impressed with this CD, and from what I can tell from the reams of Turkish on the band's website, I believe a new album is in the works presently. With a better singer the next release from this outfit could be an absolute classic, and you'd better believe I'll be watching for it.
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