Writing a song with a long runtime takes skill. Keeping the listener engaged throughout the length of the song requires even more special skills. The number of progressive bands in India are actually very limited and even the few that do exist, tend to stick to shorter song lengths (with exception of one or two songs ofcourse). But never did I imagine that when I discovered such a progressive band from India, it would be from Jaipur of all places! While the general public had been focussing their attention on bands from Bangalore, Kolkatta, Delhi and Mumbai, these lads have achieved something which quite a lot of bands in this country fail to do – release a spectacular debut!
Winter Gate is a Death Metal band that have a very progressive sound. Their debut EP ‘Dis-Illumination’ was released last year and it was not until they were signed on to Transcending Obscurity India, that this band came to my attention. ‘Dis-Illumination’ is a very short EP of just two tracks and an intro, but it ultimately achieves what every debut EP should achieve.
The EP kicks off with the track ‘Beyond The Light’ which is a soft instrumental intro that creates a melancholic and dark atmosphere. The use of clean instruments is a trend that follows on in the other two tracks as well. The first actual song of the album is ‘A Wreath Of Mist’ and it is a 12 minute long epic that manages to keep the listener’s attention focused on it throughout the length. The sound of Winter Gate seems to be drawing influences from all over the place. Firstly there is the melodic touch to the death metal, much like the old death metal bands of Sweden. Then there is the undeniable progression in the sound (which reminds me a lot about their label mates Fragarak). In addition to all this, the songs carry an old school sensibility.
‘Death’s Embrace’, similar to the first track is a long progressive track that is a little over 12 minutes. The guitar work on these two tracks succeed in creating riffs that are both progressive and memorable at the same time. The flow from one riff to another and from one pace to another is so smooth that it is almost unnoticeable. There is an extensive use of clean guitars and it is not overdone at all. There is limited use of clean vocals amidst some deep growls and it is done tastefully.
The album was produced by Keshav Dhar of Skyharbor and as one can expect, the sound is very clean and it brings out all the elements very nicely. My only gripe with this album is, though I thoroughly enjoy it every time I listen, it leaves me wanting more. Two songs is simply not enough, especially that these guys have such good skills in writing music.
Nonetheless, this EP hits its target spot on. At the end of it, it leaves an impression in the listener’s mind about the capabilities of the band and it leaves him eager for more material from the band. Thus, for a debut EP, it is almost perfect!
Winter Gate is a part of the line up at Black Metal Krieg III cosponsored by Transcending Obscurity,India’s only fest dedicated purely to Black Metal.