SACRED GATE - TIDES OF WAR (Metal On Metal Records)
(Review by Stefan)
Metal maniacs on the prowl for a strong portion of purebred Traditional Heavy Metal music, here’s the new album of Germany based Sacred Gate. “Tides Of War” is a follow up to their debut album “When Eternity Ends”, released a year ago, also through Metal On Metal Records. I was so impressed with Sacred Gate’s debut album that I knew for sure we were dealing with a real promising and full of potential act that pure metalheads would die for. Good vocals, woven from iron guitar riffs alternating with outstanding melodic leads, bass and drum lines perfectly balanced… a really brilliant debut it was. Shortly after, I already was looking forward to a follow up which was released at the end of April 2013.
With a professional looking layout featuring a superb cover art done by JP Fournier (Seven Witches, Pharaoh, Edguy, Avantasia and many more), the booklet has 12 pages filled with lyrics, liner notes, photos of the musicians and info on the band. Full colour, designed in a manner which provides a pleasant experience for your eyes. With a running time of 57+ minutes, Sacred Gates’ new album “Tides Of War” can be compared with world top acts like Iron Maiden, Iced Earth, Morgana Lefay, Running Wild, Artch, Iron Savior, Aska, Wretch, Pharaoh and the likes. One thing is certain and worth mentioning: fans of US Power Metal should definitely check out these Germans as well. If you heard a few songs from the new album you know why.
“Tides Of War” is a concept album about the Spartans’ (led by King Leonidas) fight against the Persian (led by Xerxes), which took place at the coastal pass of Thermopylae aka ‘The Hot Gates’ in 480 BC. Both lyrically and musically, this heroic fight has been conveyed in a brilliant way. In all regards, the new Sacred Gate album exudes nothing but high class and to round it up, also the production is perfect… no doubt, this is a great epic masterpiece to me.
First we are treated to ‘The Coming Storm’, a kind of an introduction with an imminent feel of an heroic battle which will erupt during the next song ‘The Immortal One’. Ironbound melodic guitar riffs in a leading role, Jim’s voice still very unique with a dramatic undertone… listen very closely, I hear some good old Meliah Rage riffage. The solos and licks, well I’m overwhelmed. The title track again starts in a very powerful way thanks to the guitar riffs. To me this track comes across as a meeting between Meliah Rage and Morgana Lefay. ‘Gates Of Fire’ starts with high speed and goes on as a killer Power Metal work including a nice break including big melodic lines. ‘Never To Return’ reminds me of an old Norwegian band Artch’s song ‘Where I Go’ (album Another Return). It’s a very nice and easy song but it’s just a calm moment before the storm starts to rage on again.
First in line is the fantastic instrumental ‘Final March’ and its dizzying tempo changes. What a great song, actually the ultimate proof how good these guys really are. Best instrumental I’ve heard in a long time, spread the word that Stefan from Metal To Infinity said that! Metal merchants who like their stuff in an old school US speed/thrashing way, ‘Spartan Killing Machine’ will make your heads bang. It seems to be influenced by early Metallica and Exodus, and even one of my favourite US Metal bands Hellhound crosses my mind when I hear it. And I'm sure Manowar fans will love the song called ‘Path To Glory’. “Tides Of War” ends with the mighty ‘The Battle Of Thermopylae’. I recognize old Iron Maiden or even Aska influences spread throughout the entire song but there is a whole lot of Sacred Gates’ own character present as well. It wouldn’t be fair to say that this is a fully Maiden/Aska-esque song because it isn’t. Just influenced and nothing more than that… Sacred Gate are strong enough to play by their own rules!
I've just heard a fantastic album by a band which clearly continues to grow. From what I’ve just experienced myself, the whole band has seriously moved ahead, improving in all regards. Thanks to the great musical skills and the song structures, Sacred Gate is one of my favourite Heavy Metal acts at the moment. In the last years, we have been flooded by Euro Power Metal acts but – thank God – Sacred Gate has absolutely nothing to do with that. They hoist the flag of Traditional Heavy/Power Metal up high and I salute them for that. Via Youtube you can hear a previously unreleased song, a cover piece of Epic Metal masters Manowar, ‘Warriors Of The World’. Order right HERE. More Metal On Metal Records news via: http://metal-on-metal.com/
My Points: 96 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 89: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish