How much vintage can a band get?
Hailing from Finland, this band came out of nowhere, released a demo in 2010, a single in 2013 and now they are here with their debut album that seems to have a positive response from die-hards of NWOBHM such is their dedication to sound exactly like the bands from the past. I believe that even the bands from the belle epoch don’t know how to sound this way anymore, but the guys from Mausoleum Gate studied hard and made their homework.
The only think that lacks here is the sound of the vinyl, and I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek here. For the first time you spin the album, until you catch up with the tunes properly, the main question is if it is really necessary: to have such good imitators. They are so good in their well skilled raw production and in how to make it sound rough, that sometimes they get the opposite result and one can think of them just as impostors.
Well but if this is a problem or not, is up to the listeners to decide, as the compositions vary from mediocre to good, and over again, if they are not exactly creative, they are at least very competent.
Magic of the Gypsy Queen is the most “pedal to the metal” sound of the CD sounding like Cloven Hoof and other acts of the golden era. The chorus is good.
Demon Droid is more serious and pensive. But over again the refrains are there to save the day and to show nothing abnormal.
Then comes the trippy part and now is where one can get confused. They go from NWOBHM to something more primal like psychedelic trips: Lost Beyond the Sun is not exactly the best song in the world, and the solo is very much extended. Maybe it’s a nod to Iron Butterfly, but the Hammond in the background is a tentative to sound like Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. Somewhat the things don’t fit. They fail in their progressive/hard approach.
The trippy rock n roll sound continues with Mercenaries of Steel, and if it’s not a blast from the very past, it’s a well done second-hand rock n roll inside the boom of NWOBHM with bands that didn’t make it in the industry. Over again the Hammond appears, but this time, it goes from a hard form of heavy metal to seventies… and there is a segue with There Must Be Demons, where their actual intention appears: THE EVILNESS of the sound. This is the best song of the album, sounding like British band Hell, and the energy is genuine. Now this is a strike and I believe it will become a staple in their shows due to the grandiosity of the chorus.
The long closer, Mausoleum Gate, starts like a dark ballad and evolves into another good number where some remote elements of Progressive Rock appear timid, here and there to fulfill the 11 minutes of the song.
Die-hards will praise the band, but others must be warned, because their sound ought to be degusted in order to be understandable because the simplicity from a seminal era won’t appeal to a young audience. They may find this band dull.
Mausoleum Gate is out now on Cruz del Sur Music.
(Daniel “Roderick” Death)