Here we have 20 minutes of thrash-influenced metalcore that strikes a balance between Darkest Hour‘s razor-sharp thrash, Killswitch Engage’s groove, and something a little more along the melodic death metal lines, (Amon Amarth?); there’s a pleasing aggression to parts of these songs.
The singer has a decent voice, with a delivery ranging from belligerent shouted growls, to harsh screams, and lots in between. He has a hardcore feel to some of his vocals when he shouts. Clean singing also appears occasionally, which is well-performed, bright, and clear.
As mentioned above, there’s a solid mix of different-yet-complimentary elements in the music. Darkest Hour are a good initial reference point for the The Iron Gates’ material, yet there’s also bits of early 00s groove and thrash, the likes of which Killswitch Engage and All That Remains did so well. Add to this the melodic death metal influence that I mentioned earlier, which sees a harsher tone appear here and there, (including some blast beats).
I like that each of the songs here has its own personality, despite obviously being similar in style. Opener The War Within is probaly the most brutal, with the biggest melting pot of influences. The Huntress is probably the track that owes the largest debt to Darkest Hour, although it does also contain the first instance of clean vocals too. Fire is the longest and probably most involved track. Alternating between melodic and thrashier deliveries, it hits the spot nicely and really takes me back to the 00s. Closing song Ice contains a whiff of Amon Amarth about it, which is something that you could detect here and there in the other songs, but is more blatant in this one.
Overall this is an enjoyably promising debut from The Iron Gates. With a few tweaks here and there, and a further development of the band’s own idiosyncrasies, they should hopefully have a bright future ahead of them.