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Angel Of Suffering
(Heavy Artillery Records)

At first instance the few seconds into this debut album of Frances's THE SEVEN GATES was not exactly that exciting. It sounded like I was in for a massive does of brutal Death Metal with certain technical aspects. But soon, it hooked me. Hooked me like the way a serial killer puts its victim just before decapitating it... and soon I was blown away. Something I must be honest, does rarely happen, but more and more I am finding that there is still darkness in light... yes, THE SEVEN GATES is actually one of the best early MORBID ANGEL clones ever. Damn, I even find this weird, but unless the new MORBID ANGEL album does go back to their early more direct style; THE SEVEN GATES surpasses any album from the "F" to the "H" if you know what I am talking of. I mean songs like 'The Serpent's Wheel' or 'Gehenna's Sword' could easily have been composed in the "Altars Of Madness" era. Even the guitar sound is quite mimicking Trey's sound. Quite probably the difference might be the drum sound which for my tastes is a bit low in the mix. And the vocals are also a bit different, more Death Metal still with a nice touch to it, reminding me more than once those in the BRUTALITY debut album. I told about a technical edge that permeates a couple of songs like 'Temple Of Ashes', still pretty much influenced by Trey and Co. but with an undeniable touch that THE SEVEN GATES gives to it. Now making some memory, there has been a lot of band influenced y the mighty MORBID ANGEL, but vey few actually tried hard to copy the style as this one disc. I mean the spoken parts in the song 'No Salvation' reminds me a lot of "Domination". But I would say that their influence stick strictly from "A" to "E". This is more than Ok for me. And, another point I give credits is the fact that vocalist Vincent has been active in other less notorious (and to be honest, less interesting acts) like DAEOMONIUM / AKHENATHON since at least 1993. Other members of this band have also been active long time in previous bands like MUTILATED and VARECH, hence their very tight performance (with very good guitar solos) and sense of sound they were actually looking for. Yeah, it does have that old school Death Metal touch to it, and after a few quite listening more, the production more than fits the idea the band has. Do not search for originality here, as this is not the case, but rather enter this "Angel Of Suffering" which is to my ears the best early MORBID ANGEL clone ever. And that is never a bad thing.,

Julián Núńez

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