Being the first metal musician from the Middle East to achieve a certain level of prominence, Amadeus Awad created his first concept album "The Book Of Gates" which is set to be released under the name "Amadeus Awad's Eon" on 28 November next week.
Although he is still making his way up into the metal scene, he managed to get a couple of the most renowned musicians in metal for his project. With Russell Allen (Symphony X), Amanda Somerville (Avantasia, Trillium) and Elia I. Monsef (who has been already working with Awad in the past), he has three strong vocalists ready to deliver awesome vocals. Kevin Moore on keyboards (Dream Theater) and Timo Tolkki as guest guitarist (Stratovarius) are other two prominent members of the project. I really wonder how someone could actually screw it up with such a fantastic line-up. (With an even more exciting line-up, the already mentioned Timo Tolkki managed to screw it up very badly, but that's another topic.)
The concept of "The Book of Gates" is inspired by Egyptian mythology and also takes place in ancient Egypt. All three vocalists represent a certain character in the story: Amanda Somerville pictures the Queen Of The Nile, Russell Allen the Pharaoh and Elia I. Monsef the Necromancer.
The album starts with "Visions", an acoustic intro piece with gentle synthesizers in the background and enjoyable vocals. After that, "The Crown's Fate" kicks in and shows off Awad's abilities as songwriter and guitarist, while the vocals by Somerville and Allen are beyond beautiful. "The Book Of Gates" contains killer riffing throughout, as well as some acoustic passages. The last official track of the album "Incarnation" shines out with a virtuoso guitar solo, as well as the vocalists notch up their performance.
I really like how the whole record has a good balance between melody and heaviness, the "raw metal" and oriental music. Especially keyboards and guitars sound divine. It's too bad that the actual album is so short, it barely crosses 20 minutes. The bonus tracks extend the record length, but you can clearly hear these bonus tracks have been written and recorded for another release since Somerville and Allen are missing as vocalists and the style differs slightly from the one on "The Book Of Gates".
To sum up, the actual album sounds great, but it is way too short. It really wouldn't be fair to let this aspect preponderate. Although four tracks are very little, Awad succeeded at songwriting and arranging and he delivers quality. And that's what we are looking for, aren't we?