GATEKEEPER - Grey Maiden
Release date February 22/19 (Cruz del Sur)
Canadian epic traditional metallists Gatekeeper quickly follow up 2018's well-received full-length East of the Sun, with this four-track EP. The title track hits all of the trad metal opener requisites, its up-tempo and melodic elements surely to get heads banging in the pit. Second track 'Tale of Twins' proves to be a strong followup, a cool mid-paced riff and mighty fine guitar soloing making this the standout track on the package.
Things go a little bit off the rails to these ears with the final two songs, 'Moss' being an outright acoustic ballad and 'Richard III' going the metal ballad route. Neither are necessarily bad, but when placed together bring the energy levels down too far considering there's a full six minutes of introspection before the heft returns. Track placement issues aside though, it's easy to understand why this band is gaining fans. This is professional sounding stuff with strong vocals, wailing guitar work and good sense of drama. Cool.