[Nightmare Records, 2017]
Intro: M. Doulgeroglou, G. Petrić
Translation: A. Mantas, D. Kaltsas
06 / 09 / 2017
Anubis Gate had always been a band that stirred either positive reactions (Andromeda Unchained and The Detached were unexpectedly good) or negative ones (consider their self-titled album). Nevertheless, they do deserve the attention of the progressive metal audience. With a retooled line-up, where the most striking change is that the bassist Henrik Fevre took over the vocals since 2011 that coincided with a somewhat heavier direction, they came up with a work (Horizons) which was, if anything, meticulous. Even though Hansen’s voice was better aligned (in my view) with their musical identity, they opted to adapt, successfully, their songwriting to the new reality.
Covered in Black is their seventh studio album, where they decided to expand their horizons and made an album which is completely different from the rest of their catalog. According to the band, it’s not a concept album but it has a certain theme, dealing with people in dark places from psychopaths, assassins to the more modern topics of being at the receiving end of what is bad about social media.
A Journey in the dark
From the start the album delivers darker and heavier tone which in some parts have similar mood as their previous release, but complex song structures and fresh ideas give a special flavor yet unknown in their music.
The opening song Psychotopia shows full potential and talent of these guys, crunchy almost thrashy guitar riffs, vocal harmonies and insane drumming in the second part are top notch. The vocalist Henrik Fevre remains the most impressive part of the band in my opinion. His passionate and intense performance is really hard to find these days among metal singers. The New Delhi Assassination and Operation Cairo have lots of things in common. Both tunes are very influenced by middle-eastern and Arabic sounds, and it really works well in combination with great riffage, dynamic keyboard sound and amazing vocal delivery. The Combat is the first single from the record, it has excellent flow, heavy and dark sound filled with an amazing guitar lead. Too Much Time is another tune a worth mentioning, powerful guitar riffs lead into memorable chorus. A Journey to Nowhere starts very slowly almost as the ballad then suddenly turns into mid-tempo melodic prog metal piece with very catchy chorus and my favorite guitar solo on the record.
All the songs on the album are really different, this is not a ‘linear’ album and that’s a great thing for me. You’ll find heavy and fast tunes, mid tempo songs and semi ballads. Their capacity to hold the listener’s attention during long songs is really impressive. The lyrics are really well written and intelligent. The production of the album is perfect. To be honest, I didn’t expect such a great follow up to Horizons and this really comes as a great surprise for me also. Thus, it’s a very strong contender for prog metal of the year in my book.
Covered in Black is a very ambitious and complex album without being hard to understand. This is exactly how progressive metal should be played without being pretentious in any moment. Anubis Gate keep get better with every album and finally deserve way more recognition than they already have.
8 / 10
Τhe song structures are detailed, while the guitars are heavy, but not commercialized. The production is such that the album really jumps out from the speakers sounding heavy and meaty while highlighting the samples and the keyboards placed punctiliously by Olesen. Throughout the entire album the sound is sophisticated and proves the maturity and the serious approach of Anubis Gate to their musical vision for 2017 which is likely to become a benchmark for their future. Unfortunately there are strong objections to some lead vocal parts or poorly incorporated melodies into the musical themes (the verse of The Combat, the chorus of Black, the vocal lines of From Afar). Given that Anubis Gate won’t shy away from experimenting, both in purely musical terms or with regard to the line-up of the band, I think that Fevre could focus on his rhythmic role, where he is great at, and they should seek for another voice to carry out their musical venture because it is such a venture that deserves to be promoted and stand out from the heap.
7.5 / 10