This fine Saturday morning my ears a caressed by the chilling sounds of Winter Gates debuted offering. In the form of their Ep Dis-Illumination , originally released by the band as a digital only release in 2012 but now getting a Cd release through Transcending Obscurity India. If I would not have been told the origin of this slab of melancholic death metal I would have guessed Scandinavian. But now we have to go some place a lot of warmer, Jaipur in India to be more precise. The band labels their music as progressive/old school death metal with the melancholy of Katatonia. And I think they are pretty dead on the money with that description. It is nothing super progressive or technical but there are hint of it here and there. I really dig the music, it is somber and beautiful filled with twists and turns. Howling distortion and haunting clean parts.
This Ep consist of three songs, one being a piano intro and two being the heavy lifting so to say. The entire thing clocks in at 26 min so the two "real" songs are really long. The good thing about this Ep is that the songs a varied and hardly repetitive so it never gets boring or stale. The first (real) song A Wreath of Mist has a real Katatonia vibe, super melancholic and ending at a very beautiful note with a great clean part. While the second song starts of with a really Morbid Angel-ish vibe accompanied with some real guttural vocal. This contrast is really cool, I have always enjoyed bands that have more than one set of ideas in their arsenal. Winter Gate pulls of this transition awesome. At 4:24 we get some other influences, I am pretty sure this melodies is from a Dimmu Borgir song. Can't say which thou since I am not a great fan of those Norwegians imparticular. After this little homage to the Norwegians we are back at the Swedish side of the border once again with more Katatonia sounding stuff. I get a real Brave Murder day vibe of the later part of second song Death's Embrace. The lead melody at the end is pretty much Katatonia 101 while the rhythm track has a more modern touch.
The production is solid, a bit thin for my taste. But all in all it fits the music well and I guess that is what is important. It is a bit rough around the edges from time to time but nothing that is really annoying or nothing, but I have to complain about something I guess. The playing is solid as well, they have some tricky parts here and there so the guys can surely play.
So if you like Katatonia or the more melancholic side of death metal Winter Gate's Dis-Illumination is not to be missed.
Sweden`s Wilhelm Lindh*, "Portuguese by adoption," guitar player, composer and owner of the Doom / Death Metal band The Gardnerz, reviews here in HeavyHardMetalmania.net. Careful and professional analysis to the music and albums with suggestions of what there is to see and hear ... not to be missed. "The wisdom is found in the extremes, all extreme Metal here!".