Time to enjoy a purifying journey through Danish progressive music.
It’s amazing how the impeccable country of Denmark, with a population of only around 5 million people, has already provided the world so many excellent Heavy Metal bands such as Mercyful Fate, Volbeat, Pyramaze, White Lion, Royal Hunt, and also the band in question here, Aalborg-based Melodic Progressive Metal band Anubis Gate. After five full-length albums and one EP, the band releases now their sixth full-length album, Horizons, a really good experience in terms of progressive heavy music.
Although Anubis Gate released their debut album only in 2003, the band members have been working together since 1984, which gives them a stronger background to produce high quality Progressive Metal. Also, despite their almost flawless instrumental, what really caught my attention in Horizons were the clever lyrics in all songs, which by the way were all connected somehow throughout the whole album, enhancing our overall experience with their music just as the band probably desired while composing the album.
Let the voyage begin with Destined To Remember, an excellent progressive song with lots of harmony and a beautiful melody, with highlights to the riffs and drumming after three minutes, and also to the lyrics focusing on the purity of body and mind (“Don’t stray, you’re destined to remember / ‘Cause you can’t stop thinking ‘bout the day / I pray you’ll find what you endeavour / And make peace on the way”). It’s a long song that goes a little over 6 minutes, which by the way is a constant in the whole album, and that gives the band a lot of time to showcase their abilities as musicians.
The following track is a little shorter, maybe due to the fact it’s being used as their single for promoting the album: Never Like This (A Dream) reminds me of some of the songs by German Progressive Metal masters Vanden Plas, with great vocals and the last part of the song being pretty heavy with excellent keyboards. However, Anubis Gate go back to their unique progressiveness with the amazing Hear My Call!, a heavier tune the likes of old Dream Theater, with interesting breakdowns and an outstanding solo at the end, making it one of the best of the album for sure.
Things get a little boring with Airways, which despite its good acoustic guitar intro and lyrics (“Inhale, exhale, stay awake, keep talking, don’t give in / The arms of death are reaching out to decompose your skin”), the rest of the song is just average and doesn’t keep up with the same level as its predecessor, but Horizons is back on track again with the Power Metal full of heavy riffs and atmospheric keyboards of Revolution Come Undone, a song that sounds perfect for circle pits, even this being something not so common for any progressive music bands.
The next three songs are Breach Of Faith, a more progressive rock tune not so exciting; Mindlessness, another very Dream Theater-ish track with nice instrumental; and the title-track Horizons, with its good rhythm and amazing drumming. However, it’s with A Dream Within A Dream, a 14-minute sequence for “Never Like This (A Dream)”, where the band really stands out and proves why they’re one of the best progressive bands in the world of heavy music: it’s a truly beautiful song with lots of variations and solos, which you’ll enjoy so much you won’t even notice when it’s over, even being such a long track.
Finally, we have Erasure, a slow and dense ballad with some more beautiful lyrics to end up Horizons in a pleasant way, leaving us with the certainty Anubis Gate will keep providing us more of their fine progressive music in the years to come. And, of course, we’ll be there eagerly waiting for their new music “journeys” and experimentations.
Best moments of the album: Destined To Remember, Hear My Call!, Revolution Come Undone and A Dream Within A Dream.
Worst moments of the album: Airway and Breach Of Faith.
Released in 2014 Nightmare Records
1. Destined To Remember 6:02
2. Never Like This (A Dream) 4:07
3. Hear My Call! 6:23
4. Airways 6:49
5. Revolution Come Undone 5:28
6. Breach Of Faith 7:20
7. Mindlessness 6:31
8. Horizons 4:48
9. A Dream Within A Dream 14:09
10. Erasure 3:31
Henrik Fevre – bass, vocals
Kim Olesen – guitars, keyboards
Michael Bodin – guitars
Morten Gade Sørensen – drums