|Review: Gates of Winter - Lux Aeterna|
Year released: 2008
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Review online: February 9, 2008
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Gates of Winter hail from Sault Ste-Marie, Ontario, but upon hearing this album, you'd swear this is one of those polished Symphonic Power Metal bands from Scandinavia signed to a sizable label. The production is surprisingly good for an independent release. It's difficult to corner these guys into a specific genre: Lux Aeterna mixes traditional Heavy Metal, Power Metal, symphonic and a little Progressive Metal. The album has an omnipresent epic feel to it, not only from an atmospheric and musical point of view, but also thanks to some vocal styles, such as the guest female vocals on "Burning Kingdom I - A Dark Affliction". The male vocals are more of the Heavy/Power variety - a more direct but clean style, although sometimes using a more harsh, raspy style that adds an aggressive edge to what is otherwise a "smooth" album. The music flows through a few moods, from very melancholic, to slightly sinister dark-but-not-quite-doomy, to a more upbeat, positive feel. An eclectic variety that nonetheless flows extremely well - nothing sounds out of place on this album despite flirting with various extremes. It's been a while since I've heard such a diverse album that sounded coherent through and through.
This album gets better with every listen - I wasn't particularly convinced on the first listen, and then it suddenly clicked when I paid closer attention. Sober, non-overbearing yet effective vocals leave the room to some great mix of guitar melodies and keyboard wizardry. I should note that the keyboard work here is excellent - a very good complement to the other instruments without getting in the way, and really adding "power" and diversity to every track. Why these guys aren't signed is a mystery to me, but I wouldn't be surprised if Lux Aeterna made the powers that be take notice.
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