Lux Aeterna - Gates of Winter

Lux Aeterna - Gates of Winter - 4.5/5
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I came across Gates of Winter through a podcast. The song I had heard was 'Winter Flight', a song that, in one word, made me feel 'released'. And that's the kind of feel I got throughout the whole album. Right from the start of the album, one can tell that this band's intention is go STRAIGHT for the listener's mood. Their songwriting is VERY emotion-oriented, something that I find lacking in most progressive metal bands, who are busy showing off their technical prowess and superior education in music.

Gates of Winter may not come across as progressive to someone who's definition of 'progressive' is based on music by bands like Dream Theater and Andromeda. No. Don't expect ridiculously brain-jarring time signatures and beat skips OR virtuosic technique. So what makes them progressive? Well their ability to change rhythms frequently and constantly make the listener feel like he/she is part of the story they are trying to tell. And they CAN tell stories. Case in point: the 'Burning Kingdom' trilogy. The way the 1st part, 'A Dark Affliction' begins, sets the tone running for part 2 and finally closes with the instrumental part 3 that shares its name with the album title, bears testimony to their storytelling prowess.

Another highlight of this album is that there is never a dull moment. This is something that many progressive metal bands have not been able to master. Gates of Winter ensure that their songs do not drag on unnecessarily, clocking at 11-15 minutes JUST for the sake of being called 'progressive'. Hence one never feels that the same riff is being repeated for too long, or that the lead guitarist can stop his 5-minute long wankery already. Also, this band has a VERY solid backing rhythm. None of those 'falsely promising-sounding intro' problems here.

All in all, this is a wonderful album. The production though, DOES give away the fact that it is self-released because of the unusual prominence of the bass. No matter, it is still a piece of art. No matter what kind of a bad day one has had, one can be assured that he will feel total bliss for those 49 minutes and 44 seconds that this album runs for. A few of my favourites:

-Winter Flight
-From the Flesh
-Burning Kingdom II- Heavenly Insurgence

By I. Kumar