Gates of Ishtar - _The Dawn of Flames_
(Invasion Records, 1997)
by: Drew Snow (
Some things just can't be explained. This is Gates of Ishtar's second album, the followup to their debut, _A Bloodred Path_, yet it bears little resemblance to their initial effort. Where did the killer, bouncing melodies go off to? What happened to the abundant variation and occasional tempo changes? I can't give you the answers, but I -can- say that Gates of Ishtar, on the surface, have produced a fairly generic album of Swedish melodic black/death metal, almost completely devoid of originality (even moreso than their debut, which wasn't exactly groundbreaking), and lacking most of the elements which made the previous effort such a joy to listen to. Now for the part that can't be explained: I just can not -stop- listening to _The Dawn of Flames_. This has got to be one of the catchiest, most addictive releases I've heard in a while. As mentioned, there is hardly an original concept here, and in fact _TDoF_ is even more derivative than _ABR_, and, in fact, if only superficially listened to, one might not be able to stand this album. I know I sure couldn't, at first. After the first two listens to this album, I was completely disappointed and nearly disgusted. But then, I listened closer and heard that, although yes, it is rather generic and lacking in creativity, the style is pulled off without a hitch, and there really are very few unlistenable moments on the CD. This release is just filled with dramatic choruses, flowing melodies, and competent playing, combining to constitute a release which, although dissimilar in style, surpasses the debut.
(article published 5/13/1997)
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