Released: 2014, Nightmare Records
Anubis Gate is one of those bands that I kind of lost track of. Founded back in the middle of the last decade they put out two great Power Metal albums that I really enjoyed. Then over the next two years things really changed. Big line-up changes saw only one original member left and a new lead vocalist as the band expanded to a quintet adding a keyboardist. The logo changed. They dropped their mascot and the Egyptian theme, which is unfortunate because I thought it was really cool. The music changed. They sound started to evolve into a more Progressive direction and I wasn’t thrilled with the next three albums, wishing for a return to the earlier sound. I now know that will never happen and have learned to accept the band is no longer a Power Metal band with progressive parts, but a Progressive Metal band. Now in 2014 the band has joined a small, but ever-growing group of bands no original members left. Is this the future of Metal where bands, become institutions that transcend the people within them? I suppose that doesn’t really bother me all that much as long as the music is still enjoyable.
Hot on the heels of their 2013 EP entitled SHEEP, Anubis Gate have just released their sixth album, HORIZONS. The band is a quartet now and they have added a new drummer and new guitarist, with Henrik still handling vocals. Still on Nightmare Records the band has continued their growing tradition of weird album covers. The minute long contains lots of long songs, most of them in the six minute range for a running time of 66 minutes, including the longest song the band has ever done, ‘A Dream Within A Dream’, running over 14 minutes long. I feel they have truly embraced their new progressive sound and HORIZONS is the album that is bringing me back on board as a more committed fan.
As with many, prog/power albums, the production is crystal clear and powerful. Henrik does a fine job singing, I think he has improved his delivery style since the last record. There are many interesting arrangements and time-changes, but so many that the song itself doesn’t get compromised. If anything I think that HORIZONS is a touch heavier again, which never hurts. Cuts like ‘Hear My Call’ and ‘Revolution come Undone’ are streamlined and feature some really good crunchy guitar and the title track recalls some of their earlier days of Power with some good driving drums courtesy of new drummer, Morten. The album ends of a mellower note with a track feature a quiet vocal line and acoustic guitar, with a brief surge in the middle of the song before retreating again. Anubis Gate have at times, a classic Prog Metal sound that may appeal to fans of mid-years Fates Warning or maybe Redemption and other quality bands in that style. The keyboards are downplayed on this album, used for atmosphere and sparsely most of the time.
HORIZONS is a really strong album and I’m going to have to go back and try to re-appreciate the previous few albums. If you are like me, it is time to cross the horizon and renter the Anubis Gate!