|Review: Anubis Gate - Andromeda Unchained|
Label: Locomotive Music
Year released: 2007
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: December 29, 2007
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Not being familiar with Anubis Gate's back catalogue, I would not have picked this one up normally if not for the extremely positive comments I had read about it - and I'm really fucking glad I did so, now. From what I understand, the band played a very Queensryche-esque style of Heavy Metal before this album; a bouncy, dynamic sound with power and energy spewing from every pore and crack, and that will make this one all the more surprising to anyone who expected anything like the old sound. Apparently, though, Anubis Gate neglected to inform their fanbase of their celestial ascent to the heavens after their sophomore album A Perfect Forever (2005), which has also apparently turned them into gods among men.
The band finally graces the puny Earth with their presence again in the year 2007, and release this, an album of crushing magnitude and power. Andromeda Unchained is absolutely a world class album, boasting commanding, riff-heavy song structures comparable to that of Communic's equally excellent Waves of Visual Decay, alongside eerily spacey melody lines and vocal melodies that recall Pagan's Mind and several older 70s Prog Rock bands. Jacob Hansen did the vocals here, and I cannot stress enough how much of an asset he is to this band's sound now. He's got a voice very reminiscent of James LaBrie, except Hansen has a certain outer space edge to his voice that really lifts it up, giving it something special that most vanilla Prog vocalists do not have. Hansen often sounds like he's coming back home from a journey to the far corners of the galaxy, and he really pours his heart and soul into every song here. Fabulous work, Mr. Hansen, absolutely stellar.
The quality of the music here is sky-high all the way through, and the only variation is that some songs are simply great and others are jaw-dropping in their repertoire of stunning riff patterns and outer-space thrills and chills, to the point where you wonder if human beings could've even created this music - it's out of this world, that's for sure! An interesting quality of this one is how it builds up from more straightforward and easy to enjoy songs like the bouncy, kinetic "Snowbound" and the ball-crushing "Waking Hour." These are indeed excellent songs, with catchy, accessible choruses alluring the unsuspecting listener into a snare, where he will be crushed by the suffocating, bone-grinding breakdown of "Snowbound" and the brilliant riffs of its follow-up. A devious trick indeed!
After a few fillers (still better than a lot of music today, mind you!) the band jettisons even further into progressive mastery with an enormous leap in complexity and quality. "This White Storm Through My Mind" is most likely the best song here, and better than anything 90% of Prog bands today will ever produce. It's a riveting, stirring eight minute epic, packed with ominous, dark riffs over a dreamlike beat and celestial, hypnotic vocal lines, eventually spiraling out of control into a bellowing, planet crushing solo for the last half of the song in a manner akin to a space shuttle veering off track into a thunderous asteroid belt. "The Final Overture" follows suit, a six minute tour-de-force in raw cosmic power, flowing as easily as the stream of life into the ever-blue ocean - very high quality song.
"Take Me Home" is a poignant, sickly-sweet ballad that actually does not come off as cheesy or overdone, but rather emotional and heartfelt instead. It's a soaring song that will lift you straight up to the stars, sprinkling your frail form with light, ample doses of cosmic dust, weathered with age. "Point of No Concern" is likely the most progressive track to be found here, integrating stoic electronic elements into the already intriguing mix, as well as packing what is probably the most infectious chorus here, as well. "The End of Millennium Road" is on the same level of quality, a majestic, grandiose piece that is just about the definition of a grower. It's a very fitting end to the album, with a nostalgic, "wandering" sort of feel to it, that inevitable, slightly sorrowful atmosphere that lets one know the end is coming, and it never fails to put a smile on my face.
Anubis Gate are just entering their own little Renaissance era, and I'll be extremely happy to see them keep up this kind of quality on a follow-up. This isn't perfect, featuring a few tracks that are slightly weaker and could've been cut, but it is an endearing, soulful journey into levels of outer space higher than you thought possible. Get this if you like great Prog Metal, period.
|Other related information on the site|
|Review: A Perfect Forever (reviewed by Christopher Foley)|
Review: Andromeda Unchained (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Anubis Gate (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Anubis Gate (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: The Detached (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: The Detached (reviewed by PowerMetal59)
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