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Review: Arctic Flame - Guardian at the Gate
Arctic Flame
Guardian at the Gate

Label: Pure Steel Records
Year released: 2011
Duration: 49:36
Tracks: 9
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 2.5/5

Review online: August 5, 2011
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Guardian at the Gate

Rated 2.5/5 (50%) (10 Votes)

New Jersey's Arctic Flame has been at this Metal thing for 10 years now and their new album, Guardian at the Gate is #3. And they still don't have it right, despite the requisite fantasy-themed band name, album name, cover art, etc. I really disliked the debut, Primeval Aggressor, because it didn't sound much better than a demo, but, hey, it's a debut and you have to give bands time to grow. Guardian at the Gate sounds better, especially the guitars, which have a nice, sharp tone, but the rest of the album lags way behind.

According to the band's website, singer Michael Clayton Moore has been singing professionally for over 20 years, including theater and opera, but for some reason, his flat, unemotional tenor simply will not mesh with the music in any way, shape or form. He's not out of tune but at all times he sounds like he's singing a completely different song from the one being played. That gets old fast. As mentioned, the guitars sound good, especially on the riffs, but the solos rely too heavily on cliché to be interesting. And then there are the lyrics. I'm usually very forgiving when it comes to lyrics, not being all that adept at picking up hidden meanings and such, but when you have a lyrics like "I think I left my small intestine at the curb" and "got up at the crack of noon," which was funny when I was in college back in 1986, I can't get past them. Those are courtesy of "Raise Your Glasses," but are hardly the only sophomoric lines on the album. I liked "Falkenfels," even though it's rather boring, simply because it is an instrumental.

With vocals only a mother could love and dull and unimaginative lyrics to go with average songs, it is hard to recommend Guardians at the Gate.

Other related information on the site
Review: Guardian at the Gate (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Shake the Earth (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Shake the Earth (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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