I hate it when I miss an album by a band. Danish ANUBIS GATE is one of those cases, I had thoroughly enjoyed their first two efforts “Purification” and “A Perfect Forever”, but completely missed their third album “Andromeda Unchained” and now have their fourth strike “The Detached” spinning and a few things have changed. The Danes definitely have upped the Progressive factor in their Prog Power Metal, losing some of that mystic catchiness that I had liked so much and they also are dabbling a little in more modern elements, which are (some) hit and (quite some) miss with me, but more on that a little later.
ANUBIS GATE took on a fairly ambitious concept for their latest effort, basing it on a story by Danish author Martin Rauff, dealing with the character Bilao, who can travel through time and space into any era of the earth in order to find a place to settle down, but the downside of this is that he weakens every time he travels, so this is a quite abstract piece that is worth following nevertheless. But let’s take a look at the music, without the concept would not be worth a lot, now would it?
And “The Detached” is kind of a schizophrenic album for me, because there are five tracks here that I really enjoy and five others that leave me rather cold (plus intro and outro, but those don’t count anyways). So let me treat the review the same way, with the good side first, that being “Find A Way (Or Make One)”, “Yiri”, “Lost In Myself”, “Pyramids” and “Bloodoath”. ANUBIS GATE have a good hand for balancing demand and accessibility, with good dynamics and excellent vocals. Among these, “Pyramids” is my absolute favourite, as it takes the Egyptian feeling from both band name and song title and translates it into the song as well, through some wind instrument, melodies, percussion and even vocal harmonies, brilliant track indeed. But the others are not far behind, combining straight-up and powerful Metal with intense atmosphere, calmer passages and seamless transitions, plus very good vocals which show how much former Thrash shouter Jacob Hansen (INVOCATOR) has matured as vocalist.
Now the other side, which does not connect with me as much, so to say. I’ve never been a fan of electronics or putting effects on vocals, so the inclusion of those does not help, but in these remaining songs ANUBIS GATE cannot build the same gripping atmosphere anymore and thus lose the attention of the listener at least somewhat. I do understand that especially when it comes down to Prog, a lot is in the eye, well ear, of the beholder and what might not grip one, may grab the other and it also often is very dependent on the mood at the time of listening, so as I enjoy the above mentioned five tracks a lot, I probably have not managed to put my Prog hat on the right way to enjoy the rest…
Be it as it may, ANUBIS GATE have plenty of musicianship and excellent execution, just sometimes lack the full connection with me, given the merits of Hansen’s job as producer, you can rest assured that the sound is not a problem whatsoever and that works in favour of “The Detached” as well. So if you are receptive towards a little more modern elements (such as the vocal effects, for example), you can safely add at least one extra point to the rating, the five songs I enjoy are definitely good enough to get this album already!
(Online August 23, 2009)