Anubis Gate – Horizons (Nightmare)

Thursday, 20th March 2014
Rating: 8/10

Ever-so-steadily climbing up the European progressive metal ladder, Denmark’s Anubis Gate might have encountered a bit of stumble on their forgettable 2012 self-titled effort, but look to be in better shape on Horizons, their sixth album. The draw with non-flash/mostly-melody progressive metal like Anubis Gate really comes down to the songs; there’s not going to be any flashy finger exercises to milk, even if the musicianship is top-notch. So, it’s open season for the crisp-as-day vocals of Henrik Fevre, who turns out to be the album’s breadwinner, and main reason why this set of songs cut through so well.

Fevre – who stepped up from the position of backing vocals to replace Jacob Hansen in 2011 – has that idyllic blend of European persuasion and airy pipes, making him quite suited to glide over pristine and lean riffs, none of which like we said prior are threatening, but have ample pull. Thus, the chorus choices on opening cut “Destined to Remember” are soaring; well-stocked harmonies go at it on “Never Like This (A Dream)”, and the added degree of heaviness found on “Revolution Undone” is slot-locked with tempo fluctuations and groove-laded riffs, ala Symphony X.

Like practically every other band of this ilk, Anubis Gate can’t resist the urge to mess around with tone-downed songs, like “Airways” and “A Dream Within a Dream,” both of which do more to cement the fact the band is at their best when gliding through the crystalline caverns of song-oriented metal than anything else. But, it all works so well when Fevre gets in-step, finds a pitch he likes, and runs the table, thus making Horizons a significant improvement over the aforementioned self-titled album. Quite enjoyable stuff.

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