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Beyond The Gates
May 2004
Released: 2004, Noise Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: EvilG

The voice of HammerFall, Joacim Cans, has unleashed a metallic tour de force that is sure to please HammerFall fans but also appeal to all fans of straight ahead heavy metal. Cans, the band, is more mid-paced, more about heavy riffing, and although it has some comparisons to HammerFall, is not a band playing HammerFall leftovers.

Joacim has chosen some fine players for his first solo venture. Coming from bands like Primal Fear, Sinner, Halford, and Dionysus you might think that the music is a mix of HammerFall and other power metal bands. None of the material on here has the characteristic power metal sounds of thundering double kicks or galloping rhythms. Instead most material is middle of the road tempo-wise. There are ways to play fast without sounding like power metal of course, so that would be the only minor complaint I could make of the material on here. “Back To Hell” and definitely “Signs” (one of the best songs on the CD) does pick up the speed in places but I think some other faster songs would fit on here well. I do understand that Joacim didn’t want this to sound like HammerFall and perhaps steered clear of that kind of material to further remove this album from that sound. In that aspect he’s succeeded. Some other songs that stand out for me include “Fields of Yesterday” which is a heavy riffing monster with Joacim’s distinctive vocalisms. Then there is “Soul Collector” which brings the thick heavy riffing up a notch with input from Halford’s guitarist, “Metal” Mike Chlasciak. “The Key” is a different sort of song for the album with an almost TV-theme like music feel. The backing rhythm remains the same for most of the song and is overlain with different melodies and sustained chords. In description, this may sound like it might be boring, but it was a different way to construct a song and it worked. “Garden of Evil” starts out like a variation on the “Wrathchild” (Iron Maiden) theme but then moves into different areas. The chorus on this one sneaks its way in there unexpectedly and greatly added to the song. The only song on here that is dreadful is the closing track. That would be “Forever Ends” which is oddly enough a Jeff Waters (Annihilator) co-written tune. On my first couple listens to the CD I actually had to turn off this song due to the astronomically high gay factor. The only good thing about this song it that it’s at the end of the CD so I can continue to turn off this useless nursery rhyme ballad and pretend it’s not on the album at all. Let us never speak of it again.

All things considered, BEYOND THE GATES is a fine solo effort from Joacim. I still prefer HammerFall of course, but the point is not to compare this to his main band but to appreciate it for what it is – a solid metal album.
Track Listing

01. Fields of Yesterday (Cans/Elmgren)
02. Soul Collector (Cans/Chlasciak)
03. Red Light (Cans/Milianowicz)
04. Back to Hell (Cans/Chlasciak)
05. Beyond the Gates (Cans/Chastain)
06. The Key (Cans/Milianowicz)
07. Garden of Evil (Cans/Milianowicz)
08. Merciless (Cans/Sinner/Wolter)
09. Silent Cries (Cans/Elmgren)
10. Dreams (Cans/Sinner/Nauman)
11. Signs (Cans/King)
12. Forever Ends (Waters/Murphy)


The Gate Keepers:
Joacim Cans - Lead and Backing Vocals
Metal Mike Chlasciak - Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Stefan Elmgren - Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Keyboards
Mat Sinner - Bass & Backing Vocals
Mark Zonder - Drums
Daniele Sorviano - Keyboards

Special Guests:
Gus G - Lead Guitar on Beyond the Gates
Danny Gill - Lead Guitar on Dreams
Oscar Dronjak - Backing Vocals
Mats Rendlert - Backing Vocals
Joacim "Lill" Lundberg - Backing Vocals
Jonatan Nordström - Backing Vocals
Hilda Lerme - Backing Vocals
Jenny Gustafsson - Backing Vocals

Next review: » Cans - Beyond The Gates
Previous review: » Canopy - Menhir

Beyond The Gates
July 2004
Released: 2004, Noise
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: JP

Despite what Mr. Cans would have you think, this really isn’t all that different than his work with Hammerfall. Sure there are subtle differences that the well-versed powermetal/Hammerfall fan will pick out but the basis is the same, classic metal.

Cans has hired the best and works with the best. Producer, Bauerfield, co-writers Chastain, Waters, and a host of guest starts this really is an amalgamation of an enormous amount of metal talent. His first foray into the solo world is amazingly top-notch in terms of presentation and production and I really never expected anything less. It certainly look like a solo album with eight photos of Joacim and lyrics are included as well.

Musically is where this looses marks for me. Sure the songs are darker and (slightly) heavier than most Hammerfall tunes but I couldn’t shake the feeling that these were…not so much a burning desire by Cans to express himself musically but more a bunch of leftovers rejected from Hammerfall. That may be unfair but truly any one of these songs could fit on a disc by his main band. Don’t get me wrong, any good power metal CD with good drums, lots of guitars and great vocals is always welcome but how necessary is another. ‘Garden of Evil’ stands as my favorite cut.

A good record (but not great) and far from stunning. Considering the caliber of talent in this project I expected more.
Track Listing

1. Fields of Yesterday
2. Soul Collector
3. Red Light
4. Back to Hell
5. Beyond The Gates
6. The Key
7. Garden of Evil
8. Merciless
9. Silent Cries
10. Dreams
11. Signs
Forever Ends


Joacim Cans-vocals
Mike Chlasiak-guitar
Stefan Elmgren-guitar
Mat Sinner-bass
Mark Zonder-drums
Daniele Soravia



Next review: » Cans - BEYOND THE GATES
Previous review: » Canopy - Menhir

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