Gatekeeper, From Western Shores (Cruz Del Sur 2023)

Canadian epic metal band Gatekeeper bring forth the wonder once again on From Western Shores.

Guitarist Jeff Black started Gatekeeper as a solo project in 2009. Steeped in the quality of life that western Canada provides, Black set to work on epic melodic metal compositions, turning out over the years many EPs and splits, along with the full-length album East Of Sun in 2018. The band roster has changed considerably as time passed, and for the new album, Jeff Black is joined by Tyler Anderson (vocals), Adam Bergen (guitar, choir), David Messier (bass, choir), and Thomas Torma (drums).

“From Western Shores” sounds like the beginning of something big. The composition is dramatic and seasoned with exotic tinges. Soaring vocals and razor-sharp execution is the mainstay, gearing up for a journey told in music. “Death On Black Wings” is the first confrontation with violence and the energy and tone is appropriately adjusted. You can hear it in the vocals and the expressive lead guitar lines that sound like battles themselves. “Shadow And Stone” is quieter and reflective, pushing in the folk metal direction and passing by the valley of the power ballad. “Exiled King” is somber and sad in its sound and intimations. It is reflective, as we might expect given the title. The music becomes more forceful as the song progresses, suggesting the possibility of resolution.

The second half opens on “Nomads.” The beginning riff is enticingly stabby, tempered by the rollick in the rhythm section. The windswept middle of the song is a mysterious entanglement. “Twisted Towers” is positively peppy, almost a radio tune. Presumably, this song is the direct inspiration for the cover painting (or vice versa). There are some nice, gritty rock passages tucked away in here. “Desert Winds” reëstablishes a serious musical posture leading into the epic closer and namesource, “Keepers Of The Gate.” The metal here is larger than life, as it is meant to be. There is a long and satisfying cooldown so you can put what you have just experienced into perspective. Well done all around. Recommended.

From Western Shores finds broad release on Friday, March 24th through Cruz Del Sur Music. You can get the physicals at the links below.

Band photos by Wayne Edwards.




Cruz Del Sur Music,

© Wayne Edwards

Gatekeeper, From Western Shores (Cruz Del Sur 2023)