After the infernal debut “Seven Churches“ every POSSESSED fan had hoped for an even more explosive evolution. Well, and that did not come. How should you better a primordial scream such as “Seven Churches”? Instead of trying to surpass the incredible, murderous brutality and speed of the first album and sound ridiculous, POSSESSED took one step back and presented themselves a bit more catchy and also technical.
That “Beyond The Gates“ was more disappointing than the predecessor, though, was due to the weak production. On the first album Randy Burns had managed perfectly to put the dirty power onto tape, yet here THE RODS drummer Carl Canedy gave “Beyond The Gates” a quite powerless and muddy sound. Anyways, you get used to almost everything and the songs haven’t been a washout either. Who does not have any problems with the musical direction and also can live with not having any total killer tracks such as “Exorcist” and “Death Metal” will even today find a liking to good stuff like “March To Die“, “Seance“ or “The Beasts Of The Apocalypse”.
Even the first release of the CD version of the album contained the 87 EP “The Eyes Of Horror“, the last sign of life before the split. The only downpoint of that part is the re-recording of the demo classic “Swing Of The Axe“, which just cannot compete with the original. Instead songs like “Confessions”, which already had been covered by CANNIBAL CORPSE or the brilliant “Storm In my Mind” feature excellent Thrash Metal. And the production by guitar god Joe Satriani also is top notch! All in all 8.5 points. (Online December 7, 2004)