Gates of Ishtar - _A Bloodred Path_
(Spinefarm, 1996)
by: Drew Snow (7 out of 10)
Gates of Ishtar has gotten a lot of pre-release publicity for their debut album on Spinefarm Records. Most of it has been on the positive side, with them being compared to At the Gates and Dissection, musically. So how does the actual CD rate? It is, not surprisingly, very good... that is if you don't mind a little bit of recycling and a decided lack of originality. The album starts out with a fairly long (for an intro) instrumental intro, which sounds vaguely similar to a few other Swedish bands. The second track then sets the stage for the remainder of this CD, which follows a very similar song structure, and becomes predictable after a while. Alternating between extremely fast sections which sound reminiscent of a combination of black metal speed with melodic death metal melodies, and slow sections with some forgettable solos, GoI somehow manage to pull off a sound which is both instantly recognizable to any listener of Dark Tranquillity or In Flames, yet also great to listen to on its own merit. The vocals are what you usually get from this type of band: not exactly death metal growling, and not quite black metal screeching. They definitely aren't bad, just middle of the road. Unfortunately, this CD falls prey to the recurring problem of a short playing time. Even with an intro and horrible W.A.S.P. cover at the end (it's just a bad song, by anyone), this album still seems like it is over before it even began. With all of the similarities to other bands of the genre, and some obviously ripped-off parts (track 4 intro = Swordmaster's "Wraths of Time"), Gates of Ishtar still have an album which is memorable and worth listening to again and again.

(article published 11/10/1996)

5/13/1997 D Schinzel 9 Gates of Ishtar - The Dawn of Flames
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