May the world come to its tragic end to the sound of the barbaric and inhuman Doom Metal by this promising one-man army from Belgium.
What does it need for a person to sound so savage, heavy and depressive, to the point you can’t tell if it’s just a regular human being or a grotesque creature of darkness that’s responsible for that eerie and sluggish resonance? If you really want to know the answer for that difficult question, I suggest you take a listen at the self-titled debut album by Belgian Medieval Doom/Death Metal one-man army Gateway. But be extremely careful, because once you start listening to this ode to horror influenced by the likes of Autopsy, Mortician and Evoken there’s no turning back, it’s a one-way journey down to the pits of hell.
Hailing from Bruges, Belgium, the talented musician Robin Van Oyen, who’s by the way responsible for vocals and all other instruments in Gateway, brings forth a concept album inspired by his hometown, offering the listener some depraved tales of ritualistic horror, torture and pain, blending the most obscure and mischievous elements from Death, Doom, Black and Sludge Metal you can think of. The final result, like what we witnessed last year in his three-track demo Aeternae, goes beyond the boundaries of inhumanity and suffering, grinding your body and mind like a genuinely repulsive torture device.
While listening to the wicked intro Prolegomenon, it’s more than obvious that what’s about to come is going to be disturbing, which is precisely what happens in Vox Occultus, a merciless parade of Occult Doom Metal supported by its reverberating riffs. In addition, as per the “unofficial” guide of old school Doom Metal, its drums are there with the unique mission to make the whole thing even more diabolical, and I’m not really sure what to say about the subhuman growls by Robin Van Oyen except for the fact that they won’t let you sleep well at night. Are you still breathing? Because in the following track, Kha’laam, Gateway forged a mystical Doom Metal aria by masterfully blending elements from Tryptikon, Black Sabbath and Celtic Frost, with its primeval rhythm contributing to its mordacity and elevating it to a whole new level of darkness. It doesn’t matter how intricate this tune is, it remains utterly loyal to the foundations of Doom Metal.
Don’t expect to see any bright light in the music by Gateway, as the ode to despair continues with yet another grim composition entitled Impaled, where Robin keeps howling like an ancient demon amidst a lugubrious atmosphere that will compel your heart to grow darker and darker; followed by Corrumpert Interludium, a song that will break your fuckin’ neck in a solid display of extreme music, with its riffs giving you goosebumps so demonic they are. I love the name of the next track, Vile Temptress, it transpires darkness and flawlessly connects with its spellbinding rhythm, as if the witch herself wanted to hypnotize us and take us all to her evil kingdom (“I am a witch… AND I CURSE YOU!”). This tune proves that extreme music doesn’t need to be fast at all times to be frightful, don’t you agree?
In the excellent Hollow, it looks like Robin’s plan is to drag us all to hell to the sound of his torture-inspired musicality, this time slightly faster and with an even more enraged growling, growing in desperation until the song’s fiendish ending; before The Shores of Daruk closes the album with almost ten minutes of hatred and occultism, guiding us into the unknown. I don’t know where those shores are exactly but it’s definitely not a happy place, getting even more supernatural halfway through it and evolving to a sorrowful ending. Thus, if you survive this tormented feast of Extreme Metal, you’re indeed a true doom metaller, but if you still want more you can enjoy the brutal and extremely well-engendered Portaclus, an amazing gift to fans who get the physical copy of the album, and of course a visceral exhibit of what Gateway is capable of.
Are you willing to keep having your body and soul tormented by this promising Belgian one-man band? Simply check out Gateway’s Facebook and YouTube, and in order to buy your copy of Gateway go to the band’s official BandCamp page, to the Hellthrasher Productions BandCamp or to their official webstore. When the gates of hell are open and gruesome bands such as Gateway arise from darkness, you know that if the world is actually coming to an atrocious end, may that be to the sound of the rawest and most demonic Doom Metal imaginable.
Best moments of the album: Kha’laam and Vile Temptress.
Worst moments of the album: Corrumpert Interludium.
Released in 2015 Hellthrasher Productions
1. Prolegomenon (Intro) 1:08
2. Vox Occultus 6:16
3. Kha’laam 3:43
4. Impaled 6:58
5. Corrumpert Interludium 2:38
6. Vile Temptress 5:07
7. Hollow 5:00
8. The Shores Of Daruk 9:27
CD bonus track
Robin Van Oyen – vocals, all instruments