Though the band’s self-titled debut album does not grip the passions as rigorously as it might, there is plenty about the new release from Finnish metallers Mausoleum Gate to recommend and breed a healthy appetite for. Spawned in the inspiration of the seventies/eighties heavy metal scene, the band’s release and sound is a skilfully accomplished and magnetic proposition which from an underwhelming start grows to be a potently enjoyable and intriguing encounter within their captivating release.
Formed in 2008 by guitarist Count L.F. and bassist/keyboardist Wicked Ischianus, Mausoleum Gate recorded their debut EP Gateways For The Wicked in 2010, with vocalist V-P. Varpula part of the band’s line-up by this point. After playing that year’s Metal Warning Festival alongside the likes of Sarcofagus and Cloven Hoof, a change in personal saw the current line-up in place with the addition of guitarist Kasperi Puranen and drummer Oscar Razanez alongside the founding pair and Varpula. Last year the band released the well-received Obsessed By Metal 7” with a cassette version of Gateways For The Wicked following whilst 2014 has seen Mausoleum Gate sign with Cruz Del Sur Music for the release of their debut album.
It is a release which makes an impressing statement for the band but starts off with a less than convincing offering in Magic of the Gypsy Queen. To be fair it is more likely personal tastes dictate its failure to persuade but from the gothic caress of keys with haunting child spawned chuckles, the track makes a strong but unsure proposition. Its full entrance grips ears with ease, riffs stirring up attention as grooves flirt with their own baiting. With a heavy bass lure and crisp rhythms and a flourish of keys on board too, it is a captivating engagement but soon losing its edge and tight hold as the vocals of Varpula come in. It should be noted that the singer is an impressive presence but the mix sets him apart from the rest of the song to disrupt the fluency and potency of the song. The music is compelling, especially the excellent guitar enterprise colouring its lure, and vocals alone are strong but together they clash more than work. It is a shame but something which finds a much better balance from hereon in.
The following Demon Droid prowls the senses and imagination with an intimidating pose and ominous breath, riffs and beats predatory before it all erupts into a fiery and antagonistic blaze of heavy metal contagion and adventure. Punchy and with hooks which are as addictive as the melodies are fiery, the song explores its own depths with a progressive breath exploited by the searing invention of the guitars. It is an instant step up for the release which is not quite maintained by the power ballad Lost Beyond the Sun, though it too is equipped with an atmospheric radiance from the keys and the continuing to impress craft and imagination of the guitars. Again there is little to dismiss but just the absence of the spark igniting its predecessor and the next up Mercenaries of Steel which leaves it in their shadow.
The fourth track emerges from rhythmic shadows and a cold ambience to crawl through ears with an intensive examination from riffs and a binding of sonically scorched grooves. This in turn is just a passage into the adrenaline fuelled heart of the song; an Iron Maiden/ Rainbow like weave snarling over and seducing ears. Vocals croon and roar with refreshing expression and harmony as the bass tempts with a throaty growl whilst a seamless switch into a slow progressive exploration by the guitars just bewitches ears and emotions before twisting back into an insatiable and thrilling rampage.
The Kuopio quintet closes the album with its title track, almost twelve minutes of old school heavy metal ingenuity which merges classic genre balladry with a raw and hungry intensity. It is an appealing canvas brought to stronger life by the rich vocal hues and individual musicianship of the band, all combining for a tapestry which spreads and evolves with every minute into an epic and deeply satisfying journey.
Mausoleum Gate, song, album, and band are propositions which worm themselves pleasingly into the passions with every partaking of the accomplished offering. It is not a classic but a release to invite and inspire good attention to a band which has the potential to strike bigger and major heights ahead.
Mausoleum Gate is available now via Cruz Del Sur Music
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