Gatekeeper - From Western Shores review
|Album:||From Western Shores|
|Release date:||March 2023|
01. From Western Shores
02. Death On Black Wings
03. Shadow And Stone
04. Exiled King
06. Twisted Towers
07. Desert Winds
08. Keepers Of The Gate
Traditional heavy metal with a few unique touches sprinkled into it.
On paper, this new Gatekeeper album doesn’t do anything extremely special that makes it stand out between the sea of other heavy metal albums that get released throughout the year. Still, when I think of a solid good heavy metal album and then compare it to From Western Shores, it seems like Gatekeeper’s latest manages to be slightly better in every aspect. Not to the point I would call this record great or mindblowingly good, but being slightly better than a good album in almost every aspect does add up. As a result, I did enjoy this album quite a bit.
The production is very good. It’s a really clean sound. Often when an album has this kind of clean production, it loses a bit of grit and sometimes energy as well, but that’s not the case here. Yes, it’s clean and streamlined in terms of sound, but it still manages to have enough bite to it. Musically and vocally, I can’t complain too much about what’s on the menu, either. Drums and bass are used effectively to drive the songs; garnish that with some enjoyable guitar riffs, and you are almost there already. Finally, have a very classical style of seasoning in terms of the vocals. Though sometimes there might be a bit too much pepper involved... some of the screams sounded more like a screeching bird than the normal type of screams you would expect. On my first listen, those screams sounded a bit odd; on my second listen it was slightly less odd. However, I do feel some of these screams are seemingly placed on random moments in the song, rather than at the most effective moments. Anyway, that’s only a very minor part overall of all the vocals that are on this album.
Remember when I said “almost every aspect is slightly better than a standard good album”? Well, lyrics is that one thing it isn’t exactly better at. They're OK: nothing great, nothing bad, just a bit generic. You have your Lord Of The Rings stuff, defeating enemies stuff and the tried-and-true vengeance stuff. This isn’t going to win any “best lyrics” awards anytime soon, but all in all, it’s completely fine.
So, what more is there to tell about From Western Shores? Not a whole lot. There are some medieval touches/vibes sparsely sprinkled throughout, but I definitely wouldn’t say that there are enough to make the album sound particularly unique. Others might see this as a positive thing, though, and argue that it’s more subtly used than on a lot of other albums in the genre. I can for sure see this as a valid point, because I have heard enough bands in the past that relied way too heavily on those kinds of things in an attempt to sound unique, while in reality, they couldn’t get any more generic in terms of sound.
Again, Gatekeeper didn’t really do anything special or groundbreaking with From Western Shores, but it’s an album I’ll gladly give a few more spins in the future.
||Written on 19.02.2023 by|
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At best deranged
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