Band: Gates To The Morning
Title: Return to Earth
Release date: 19 July 2019
Format reviewed: Digital Promo
“Plenty of humans were monstrous and plenty of monsters knew how to play humans”
Homo sapiens is a multiplex species. The essential difference between us & other species of the animal kingdom is the ability to self-reflect. Humans can take that mental and spiritual leap of stepping outside of himself/herself and seeing himself from an alternative perspective. Do they all though? Sometimes I feel like we are not human beings, we are being humans. Sometimes I feel like we are too busy to fulfill the animalistic survival needs that we forgot there is something beyond. We forgot that we have reached the current state by billions of years of evolution and degeneration, creation and destruction. Our planet Earth is also a firm silent witness of father time which endured many misadventures(some natural and some humans-created) throughout its’ existence. It might not always fulfill our greeds, but it always fulfills our needs. Isn’t it beautiful when someone decides to reflect the true splendor of mother Earth through this great enigma of different vehemence which we know as music?
Sean Meyers is a wonderful multi-talented musician with great aptitudes ranging from jazz, progressive rock and metal from New Jersey. GATES TO THE MORNING is his way to express his gratitude modus operandi through which he expresses his gratitude towards mother Earth, his perceptions towards humanity and life. The name GATES TO THE MORNING represents a Tolkien reference. According to Tolkien, the sun re-enters the world through the gates of morning and exits through the door of night. The Gates of the Morning is the promise that there is hope. Although it is necessary to pass through that door of night, the gates of morning always await us. Sometimes it may seem that the darkness is eternal and will consume us forever, but the sun will come up in the morning. The night is darkest before the dawn. So the music of Sean Meyers is highly symbolic and meaningful. Just like the cover of this album “Return to Earth”. It represents mother Earth decorated with fire as she is returning to Earth. She is waking up after a long winter. Now, what about the music that “Return to Earth” Contains.
Though GATES TO THE MORNING started as a black metal project and it has been classified as “Post Black Metal” by some, I think “Return to Earth” is not a black metal album. It’s more a progressive metal album with some Post-Black influences here and there. The music ebbs and flows and it will always keep you curious as you never know what to expect next. It allowed starts with a hallucinogenic instrumental track “King Obscura”.The way the track shifts towards a gripping lead section accompanied by some tranquilizing acoustic plucking, piano notes, and a groovy strumming creates a captivating ardor of concaveness. “Terra Incognita” represents a demonstration of what the music of GATES TO THE MORNING represents. It starts with some craggy riffing associated with some secluded clean vocals but soon proceeds to a wrathful, infernal yet melancholic assault. The little growling, howling outcry which bridges the reposeful start and alluringly cataclysmic passage with the introduction of blast beats for the first time and then ends in some doomy riffing associated by beautiful off-beat drumming is so fitting. It represents the dubious nature of mother earth and life itself and the feeling of insanity this unpredictability can drive us.“Surveying forgotten landscape” is another mesmerizing instrumental track with some more majestic classical rock lead works merged with beautifully desolate acoustic works.“My star” again shows the progressive nature of the music with some solitary, serene atmosphere associated with clean vocals again. But if you were feeling too restful, “Crossing the abyss” will crush your skulls with some sinister, abyssic riffing and ominous growling and perplexing changes in tempo and soundscape which follows.“Freezing the sundials” is the longest track of the album and there is some captivating artistry throughout the track. The first half of this track represents the progressive side of GATES TO THE MORNING while the latter half will give you a taste of post-black metal with some ghosty bass notes in the mix too.“Chapel perilous” is a depressingly beautiful acoustic psychedelic ballad. The verses here feel like a slower tempo rendition of “Embryo” by Pink Floyd and gives a sense of hallowed numbness. “Crystfallen” will remind you of the rasping, barbaric side of the Mother Earth. It’s surely one of the more Black metal tracks of the album with some hellish riffing and melancholic melodies.”Haunting the third chamber” is a little haunting, subdued instrumental. The atmosphere of the track will carry on through “Chasing Shadows“ which is another progressive track which starts with some groovy bass lines and contains some doomy riffs and dreamy, compelling lead works again. “Two winters” is a longer instrumental track with some great build-up and ending containing some mesmerizing plucking and lots of chaos and a drowning guitar melody accompanied by captivating drum fill in the middle.”Steadfast” is another soothing instrumental with mesmerizing lead works which feel like the continuation of the previous track. You have to just close your eyes and flow with the music. “Rekindled” provides a more ebullient soundscape which continues towards “Return to Earth”. A touch of celebration in the atmosphere. Winter is dying..the sun is returning…the ice is receding..rivers are flowing.
Though I wish the album was enriched with more Black metal elements, it’s still very musically suave. I would like a more hadean ending to the album and would love if there were not these much progressive metal songs and more songs with blast beats and tremolo, still it’s a very fine record. There are many memorable lead works throughout the album. The listen is treated with even some snappy bass lines here and there too and drum work is very affluent too. Sean is a very talented musician with a great interest in different sub-genres of the metal spectrum. He said that he could envision GATES TO THE MORNING doing a more folksy/acoustic, a more 2nd wave BM routed or an even more progressive routed album later with an homage to bands like King Crimson. I am surely looking forward to him delivering a black metal emphasized album where he blends all these progressive and mellifluent elements with traditional black metal elements. Anyways, it will be fascinating to see what Sean delivers next as his ode to mother nature. 8/10 Apollo
8/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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