One man metal project. No, please don’t close that tab. Hear me out. Usually I shudder at this phrase because lets be honest here, it usually means some garbage that is so terrible no one else wanted to sully their name with it. See: the majority of black metal that has come out in the last few years. That or you’re a complete wingnut and are impossible/dangerous to work with. See: Varg Vikernes. Thankfully Gateway doesn’t fall prey to being an under-produced piece of bedroom garbage made for the cost of a few cassette tapes and an 4-track picked up at the local thrift store. Dangerous? I couldn’t tell you really. Robin Van Oyen, the maestro of this slab of cantankerous doom, does live in Bruge and they do appear to have a pretty solid torture museum so maybe he resides amongst the iron maidens and thumb screws when not churning out death tinged doom tracks? I sort of hope so because it sure sounds like he does if Gateway is anything to go by.
I’m not going to lie; I’m sick of doom. Let’s get this straight: I fucking love doom, sludge and pretty much anything that sounds like your final dark destiny is plodding toward you slowly but unmercifully but holy shit has it been done.To death. Deader than dead. There are a handful of labels kicking around we can blame for that but I’m not going to name names because I’ve had enough interweb drama for this week. I’m just going to say that Hellthrasher Productions IS NOT one of those labels. Their releases are consistently pushing the borders and boundary’s of what I consider doom and death metal, keeping it fresh and interesting and not just some exercise is posturing like so many other acts out there right now.
Gateways self-titled release mixes a healthy dose of death metal aggression into the plodding eventuality of doom riffs, keeping the listeners attention but never letting them sink into the safety of a straight doom tracks endless riffs. Recalling the atmosphere of Portal and Serpentrance, the listener is drawn into a dark realm where only exists slow pain and crushing embrace of torture and night time. This album is darker, heavier and * gasp * more depressing than ANY black metal I’ve heard this year. Yeah, I said it. Suck it kriegnauts. This ist more krieg!
Gateway isn’t really a track by track album as it all blends together in a miasmic soup of sludgy doomy….stuff? It’s something you put on, turn up and let pummel you into submission. Who doesn’t like music that pummels them? Music with vocals that sound like someone is forcefully and purposefully pushing all their internal organs out through their throat, City of the Dead style? Music with sludgy guitar work that slowly and methodically fuses slow riff with slow riff ad nauseum to become a noisy untamable monster by the end of the album? Yes, this album may drive you to the point of nausea; a dark feeling welling in your stomach but you will love it. Embrace that feeling. This is ugly music for ugly situations and your body is only reacting accordingly.Gateway is a beast of an album, revealing more to the listener with each subsequent listen. No, not listen: session. Because the 40 minutes you spend with this album will twist your mind like some torturous medieval machination leaving you rent but better for it.