Wow, a Progressive Metal band from France that I actually like! That's a rare thing and for that, THE GATEWAY should be proud. After all, impressing unimportant and self-righteous little reviewers from the middle of Ohio is the sort of thing that can make or break a band's career. With that in mind, I'd be glad to help THE GATEWAY out, so, as that unimportant, self-righteous little reviewer, I give them my stamp of approval. You can thank me later, guys.
What we have here is some nicely played and heavy Progressive Metal. The riffs are tight and give a real sense of energy to the songs. Often times one can hear some very interesting guitarplay going on underneath those riffs, giving the music a rocking-yet-intricate type-o-vibe. The band snakes its way through lighter, more melodic sections in between those bursts of jarring, staccato riffs, lending a good sense of dynamics to the material. Sure, lots of bands do heavy/mellow interplay and loud/soft dynamics, but notice what I said - THE GATEWAY have a good sense of dynamics. They do it well. They keep it interesting.
Vocally, we're totally clean here and partly in English and partly in French. The delivery is a slightly high-pitched and sometimes even wailing clean vocals. Don't worry, no balls-in-a-vice here, though occasionally the vocalist does tough it up a bit with some screams and gruff singing. Additionally, there are some tasteful female vocals floating around a few of the tracks, as well as some interesting vocal effects, but those are always kept in check. One thing that isn't kept in check, however, is the length of the songs - the shortest offering here is a mighty 6 minutes and 15 seconds, with several tracks stretching to or exceeding 10 minutes in length! Of course, this is only a problem when the tunes aren't good and for the most part, these tunes are just that. Occasionally things drag on a bit or the band seems a little unfocused, but much more often than not, the songcraft is spot on.
My biggest surprise about this album was when I found out that the band are unsigned. I had figured that the band were signed to one of the big Prog labels like Lion Music or Inside Out - I had never thought that this might be a self-production. Kudos to THE GATEWAY for putting this together and I imagine that once enough people here this, they'll have no problems finding a label to call home. Recommend to fans of good Progressive Metal! (Online August 10, 2006)