Progressive metal? I honestly am not so sure Anubis Gate's new album "Horizons"
could be caged into such a small subgenre. This is my first real experience with
the band, though I've heard individual tracks and the like. However, I was not
expecting something so fresh, vibrant, and, simply put, fantastic.
Gate is a progressive metal band that bends the rules a bit. They don't resemble
Dream Theater to my ears, and they don't succumb to showboating or endless
riffing. Instead, Anubis Gate aims for something higher than what's been done in
the past. The band has a unique sound, one that deserves more attention and that
would certainly thrill many metalheads, as well as prog rock fans, too. Their
sound revolves around layers of sound, of which metal is only a part. You see,
on "Horizons", the band has created an album of superior dark guitars,
incredible drumming and bass, beautiful keys, and powerful vocals that combine
to create slick melodies, piercing electronic tones, technical expertise, and
maturity beyond their years.
If I had
to make comparisons, I would call this new album a cross between Circus Maximus
and Subsignal. You see, the band mixes a big helping of pop into their sound,
and achieves a similar sound to these two bands in that they write infectious
melodies that contrast nicely to the virtuosity on display. You read that
correctly---this metal band utilizes pop quite a bit. It's in their catchy
choruses, their harmonies, and their general attitude on certain songs. That is
not to say that "Horizons" is devoid of metal, though. Anubis Gate has a fresh
sound to their riffing, and the structure, not the technicality, seems more
calculating. They seem to set out with a certain idea in mind, and they pull it
off flawlessly, without ever becoming pretentious.
leans, not on metallic instrumentals, but upon genuine melodies and superior
songwriting. Indeed, one of the first things I noticed on "Horizons" was the
incredibly catchy songs. And, yet, the structures are even more impressive, such
as on my favorite track, "Dream Within a Dream". This longer track mixes a
catchy chorus in the first half with an ethereal, almost psychedelic interlude
that leads into some fantastic metal. You see, the band masterfully combines all
their elements to the point where it all feels so organic and inspired.
tracks are equally impressive. "Never Like This" is infectious, but includes an
amazing electronic break that never fails to impress. "Destined to Remember" is
somewhat less catchy, but includes some wonderful drumming in the last half. And
on and on the album goes, each song being fully enjoyable and supremely
composed. Never overbearing, and always interesting, unlike much prog metal
today. Other favorites include "Airways" and "Breach of Faith".
Anubis Gate has produced THE best metal album I've heard in 2014 thus far. They
have crafted a balanced album full of truly interesting riffs, mesmerizing
electronics, and catchy melodies. It's a wonderful combination that uses all the
tools in the toolbox without ever using any of them as a crutch. From progheads
to metalheads, I feel this album will appeal to everyone.