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Monday, September 11, 2017
review: Anubis Gate
[review by MMB]
Covered in Black
release: 1 September 2017
Anubis Gate is an adult contemporary melodic progressive band from Denmark. They began in 2001 and this is their seventh full-length studio album. Historically, their music has been received very well by enthusiasts of the melodic progressive genre, including, of course, the writers who are knowledgeable of the band's discography. As I am not to be counted amongst the latter group, I will center on this album only, because I am unable to compare with the previous output by the Danes. Specifically, what we have here is quintessential melodic progressive from head to toe, top to bottom. The overall style focuses on midpaced songs with melodic vocals and a modern 2017 prog guitar sound. The production is as good as you are likely to hear in this genre, I think. The music is not too crowded, given its mellow nature; you can hear the instruments rather clearly, and the overall sound quality is pleasant. The laidback sound gives lots of room for the singing to be the focal point in the music.
Lyrically, the band seems to be working with thoughtful stories about people and their problems. Some of the spirit seems hopeless, but some of it is also a bit optimistic; it’s not all doom and gloom about the human race. At the same time, I guess if the overall tone is pessimistic in the album cover artwork and the lyrics, it makes sense that the music be not too cheery. Moreover, the band has quite a lot of experience as musicians and the music reflects that all those traits along the way. You would be hard pressed to criticize negatively a band in which everyone is this skilled.
Even though I am not familiar with the band at all and I don't pretend to present myself as such, I would imagine that the fans of the band will welcome the newest addition to the family of albums. The new baby is looking good, folks. It seems like a perfect representation of contemporary 2017 melodic progressive music. The musicianship is very good and the singing is melodic. The voice (just singing; no growling/screaming) has a certain 80s melodic tone, with a pop edge like you find in 80s Mister Mister, Yes, Asia and Toto, and Flock of Seagulls and The Outfield, in the sense of the layered harmonies. In other words, this is not the in-your-face-metal-god singing that peels the paint off the walls. Is Anubis Gate “family metal music” that won’t scare off the children? Hmm, Maybe!
Unfortunately for me, I find the album to be too comfortable at the midtempo moods. It doesn't grab my attention because the band seems invested in the idea of avoiding rocking songs. They don't want to rock out. Only on a couple of songs, like "The Combat" and "Black" did my attention perk up a bit with the more upbeat moments.
Too bad for me, I guess, but the diehard supporters who live and breathe melodic progressive music should be pleased, I believe. What do you say, Anubis Gate fans? Are you liking it so far? Check out the video from the new album posted at the band’s page link below.