VII Gates - Fire, Walk With Me

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Sound Riot Records
Catalog Number: SRP 025
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:09:00

When you get an album, with on the back a photo of 6 cool guys, sitting in a cool car, with 3 hot girls in bikini, you wonder what kind of music they make. Hmm, a popular new metal band? Hard rock? Close, but not enough! The Swedish band VII Gates are newcomers in the metal world and ready to conquer it. It took them 3 demos to get a deal with Sound Riot Records and with some added support of the likes of Tommy Denander (Deacon Street Project, Radioactive), Kee Marcello (Europe) and Stefan Ingelstrand and Apollo from Time Requiem, they have released an impressive debut album.

Opener "Bounded By Hate" is a real ear-catcher, with its lush guitar parts and powerful vocals. Singer Criss Blackburn sounds to me like a heavy metal singer from the eighties, a mixture of Ian Gillan, Robert Plant and Ronnie James Dio: powerful, sometimes high-pitched and with the occasional scream. I was surprised to see the band is supported by three additional guitarists, as the band already has three guitar players in their ranks: JJ Rockford (also main songwriter), Robert Makek and keyboard player Tim Diaz also plays guitars. The heavy metal influences are very tangible in the songs, but these Swedes have poured it into their own catchy mold, so you swallow it without any complaints!

It is almost too much to say about all the songs, as they are sooo good! But, I'll pick a few ... the song that really captured me, is "The Saviour," for it has such an unusual and very cheery keyboard part in it, that gives the song, which has a Rainbow like guitar line, such a cool twist, which is one of the parts where you find the progressive elements these guys incorporated in their music. "Seconds Left To Live" has a riff in it that reminded me of Metallica ... curious if you will also hear that in it? The ballad (if I may call it a ballad) "So Far Away" has a very mature sound and incredible guitar parts, which really sent chills down my spine. Well, the whole album is filled with solid rock and will have its impact on your system. But, just before the album ends, they reveal their surprise, as they saved the best for last!

Their third demo, the one that got them the record deal, was called The Madman Inside, and this is also the title of the closing song! WOW! This is a killer, with all the atmosphere you expect from a classic heavy metal song. It opens subtle, with keys ,short guitar riffs and amazing vocals, then it moves on to almost epic heights, with fantastic guitar solos and changes in both melody line and tempo, an absolute classic song.

OK, I'm a bit too enthusiastic, but it's such a great album and a very impressive debut. To be honest I don't have much criticism about this album ... Excellent production, great songs and skilled musicians ... what more do you want? This one comes highly recommended! You won't be disappointed.

[This review originally appeared April 2004 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Bounded By Hate / The Saviour / Seconds Left To Die / Under the Crossed Bones / So Far Away / Tormented / Love Bullet / A Dark Room of my Mind / Like A Rock / The Madman Inside

Criss Blackburn - vocals
JJ Rockford - guitars
Robert Makek - guitars
Tim Diaz - keyboards, guitars
Nicola Posa - bass
Mick Van Slowfoot - drums


Kee Marcello - guitar
Chris Amott - guitar
Tommy Denander - guitar
Janne Stark - guitar
Stefan Ingelstrand - background vocals
Apollo - background vocals

When Gates Are Opening (demo) (2001)
  • A Dark Room Of My Mind (demo) (2001)
    The Madman Inside (demo) (2002)
    Fire, Walk With Me (2003)

    Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

    Origin SE

  • Added: January 1st 2005
    Reviewer: Marcel Haster
    Artist website:
    Hits: 878
    Language: english


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