Edition: 60
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Anubis Gate

01. Freak storm at Post Zeta...One child missing...
02. Snowbound
03. Waking hour
04. Andromeda unchained
05. Banished from sector Q
06. Beyond redemption
07. Resurrection time
08. Escape pod
09. This white storm through my mind
10. The final overture
11. Take me home
12. Point of no concern
13. The end of Millennium Road
14. The stars of Canis Minor
The metal gods be praised! Andromeda unchained, the third album from Danish progmetallers Anubis Gate, has landed – and what a terrific work of progressive metal it is. After two albums – Purification (2004) and A perfect forever (2005) – the band has not only changed singers, but also slightly altered its musical direction. With Jacob Hansen – singer/guitarist with thrashers Invocator, producer of both A perfect forever and the new AG-album - replacing Torben Askholm behind the mic, the overall sound of Anubis Gate leans more toward that of adventurous progressive acts like Ark or Beyond Twilight. Hansen has a powerful and clear voice that is just perfect for the heavy and complex, but very melodic approach the band has taken for the new material.
And that material, ladies and gentlemen, is just stunning. Anubis Gate, now consisting of Jesper M. Jensen (guitars) and Kim Olesen (guitars, synthesizers), Morten Sřrensen (drums), Henrik Fevre (bass) and the aforementioned Jacob Hansen (vocals), have outdone themselves on this highly sophisticated third opus. Especially the music fan who loves taking in his/her progmetal through headphones, will welcome this colourful tapestry of imaginative soundscapes built on heavy guitars and exciting melodies.
The spacey sound that now-vocalist Hansen has created for the band makes the compositions and individual musicians’ work stand out even more in today’s densely populated and competitive world of progressive metal. This album teaches a lesson or two about authenticity of style and transparency in sound. And with so many ideas flying around, any band would easily be lost in their own creative frenzy. Not so the disciplined Danes of Anubis Gate. Each song has been carefully looked after in terms of arrangement, allowing for a fluidity and depth that are exemplary, sometimes even making this humble listener feel as if suspended in mid-air.
Astounding once again is the guitar work. Whether it’s a basic riff, a double lead part or solo, Jesper M. Jensen and Kim Olesen manage to come up with the best of all worlds. Oh yes, there still is that trace of epic Lord Bane influence present. With Take me home, featuring splendid lead vocals by bassist Henrik Fevre, this album holds one of the best songs of 2007 so far – and that song in turn holds truly magical guitar solos, subtly woven into the fabric. Starting and ending with ever so melancholy acoustic guitars, this ballad somewhat reminiscent of vintage Crimson Glory is goosebumps material.
Other majestic tracks are This white storm through my mind and The end of Millennium Road, veritable mini-epics filled to the brim with surprises, time changes, counterpointing and beautiful harmonies. Speaking of beautiful harmonies: Andromeda unchained has them in serious quantities, both for vocal and guitar. Vocals are often doubled/tripled, with attention paid to the most minute of details. You bet that, to get those harmony vocals just right, Hansen sat in the studio many a time into the early hours of the new day.
Contrary to many progressive metal albums, this one is so damned easy to get into. These veterans of the Danish metal scene have gone out of their way to find an accessible mix between power, epic and progressive elements, enriching the material with a dash of dark synthesizers. After the obligatory intro, the uptempo Snowbound with its fascinating drum/percussion parts by Morten Sřrensen immediately grabs your attention. The following Waking hour even speeds things up and - like the previous track and the rest of the album - has something deeply life-affirming about it while still retaining the melancholy traits that marked the first two albums.
Lyrically this is a science fiction concept piece, but you’ll have to read the story for yourself, as the promo does not contain the booklet. There is a ghost track on the album as well, albeit a bit of a superfluous one, but judge for yourself. Well packaged by the Spanish label Locomotive and showing off striking artwork by Björn from Killustrations, this CD should shoot straight into many a discerning progmetal lover’s Best of 2007 list.
Seeing how Anubis Gate are evolving, it should be most interesting to see where this musical path will lead the band. One would imagine that the warmth of production and epic soundscape element are developed a bit further, or that in the studio Hansen and Fevre will divide vocal duties between them. But for now: Andromeda is unchained. We bow unto the Danish metal masters of Anubis Gate.


  Rating: 95 /100

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