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   VII GATES
Fire, Walk With Me
2003
Sound Riot Records
http://www.sevengates.se


rating: 4/5

1. Bounded By Hate
2. The Saviour
3. Seconds Left To Live
4. Under The Crossed Bones
5. So Far Away
6. Tormented
7. Love Bullet
8. A Dark Room Of My Mind
9. Like A Rock
10. The Madman Inside

VII Gates...never heard of!
So I first had to inform myself about the Scandinavian newcomer. As I could read on their webpage, VII Gates were founded in 1999 and so far produced three not too bad demo CDs 'till finally Sound Riot gave them a chance as one of their hottest horses in the stable of melodic metal ;)

"Fire, Walk With Me" is a good piece to start into the wide market. Even if the artwork is not my cup of tea (though I love fire) the silver disc inside lets forget about it. The first thing which tickled my ears was the very good production of this CD. A full sound and an nice spotlight on the charismatic and powerful voice of Criss Blackburn, strong guitar riffing and very nice and not too overdone keyboard samples directly awakened me.
Even though the songwriting could belong into the 80's, it doesn't get boring. Just in the middle of the CD the pizzazz and power gets lost for a little while, but soon the five get the back on track.
If I was to categorize them it would be symphonic Judas Priest, who listened to Hammerfall for too long. But in this case it is not done in a bad way. With "Bounded By Hate" VII Gates found a strong opening followed by the semi-ballad, with folkloristic-melodic influences. "The Saviour" is more an up-tempo piece and with "Under The Crossed Bones" VII Gates strongly remind me of Running Wild in their best years. So there's pretty flexible songwriting and you nearly don't have a second of boredom!

In the end...VII Gates wouldn't have needed the bunch of special guests (Kee Marcello, Chris Amott, Tommy Denander, Danne Stark, Stefan Ingelstrand and Apollo). They can convince without them! Check out some files on their webpage.

submitted by Nadja 10.02.2004

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