Sunday, 4 October 2015

Funeral Circle / Gatekeeper split (2015) / 82%

Canadian epic doom united

Two of the best Canadian epic metal bands got together to release this split release and it's a true showcase of the most belligerent style out there. It's a seven inches release with one track from each artist and it's pretty damn good, it's a great way to get into both bands and serves as a succulent appetizer.

Side A

Funeral Circle's "Hades Triumphant" marks the debut studio performance of Jean-Pierre Abboud but also the departure of their lead guitarist and composer Matthew
Barzegar so it's sort of an end to a chapter. I saw this lineup at their first Montréal gig last year at the second edition of Wings of Metal and they totally rocked my world. Their debut album is certainly one of the best Canadian metal albums so it's a bad sad to see this lineup end but it's a successful closure. The seven minutes song starts with an instrumental introduction before we're served the excellent, versatile and classy vocals of JP who's definitely a good fit to their epic doom sound. I was pretty devastated after the split of Borrowed Time (they released one of my favourite albums of the decade) but I was happy that JP decided to join the Circle, he brings a lot of lyricism and intelligence to the fold. Their doom is varied and has a lot of tempo changes, intricate riffs, emotional soloing and this track is no exception. Like its title, the composition is really triumphant and it's proven through the epic vocal patterns and the war like percussion. I can't wait to see what will the new lineup of Funeral Circle will do.

These memories of yesterday bring warmth, and keep bitter winds at bay...

Side B

While there's obvious similarities between the two bands, Gatekeeper mainly plays heavy metal but this song has clear epic doom influences. Gatekeeper, formerly based in Calgary but Jeff Black, their leader/guitarist/composer recently moved to Vancouver so this is also the last release of this particular lineup. The song named "Bell of Tarantia" (a city in the Conan world) is a tight heavy song and it starts with some bells (duh?) and a river flowing before giving us super epic dual lead guitars melodies and the soaring clean vocals of Shorre McColman (I think his contribution will be dearly missed). I think their songwriting is better here than on their 2013 debut extended play and while I haven't really digested their other 2015 split release (this time with Texas' Eternal Champion), it seemed to be on the faster side than this track. Gatekeeper is a great mix of sword & sorcery classic heavy metal with a slight and enjoyable epic doom sound and I really enjoyed their side. It's not exactly the most original thing around but it's done with care and skill.Hopefully, Black will be able to form a new lineup that's as strong as this one.

Heroes pyre at the castle spire / While a solemn belfry tolls

This split is the definite proof that Canadian metal (sup Darkthrone?) is in good shape and deserves more attention. While it has a runtime of fourteen minutes, I'm left on my appetite and I wanted more tasty epic nourishment, I guess I'll go spin some Cromlech, another excellent Canadian epic doom band while waiting for more material from these two groups. Bonus point for the cool Karmazid cover art, this guy rules.

Facebook Circle

No comments: