Gates of Winter Lux Aeterna

Gates of Winter Lux Aeterna
Gates of Winter's first full-length album is dramatic and dense, an ambitious and complicated fusion of multiple metal styles and big ideas. Several comparisons are momentarily possible — Dream Theater, Kamelot, even Opeth — but Lux Aeterna changes course too often to pass as imitation. References to nature and weather might be the product of a northern home base but otherwise the record owes as much to European influences as it does to Sault Ste. Marie. The combination of power metal, progressive metal and progressive death makes for a bombastic collection of songs. Even the ballads only barely keep the musical muscle in check, as Lux Aeterna moves toward an explosive conclusion. Rapid guitar leads and keyboard solos, driving riffs and percussive artillery, intricate bass lines and roving melodies make for a multi-layered package. Long instrumental passages give these musicians a chance to showcase their skills but gruff singing, smooth crooning and death growls add to the album's complexity. It might be the water or the mineral deposits but if Gates of Winter are anything to go by, northern Ontario might be hoarding a rich vein of young metal talent. (Independent)