Category Archives: Releases

TRAVELER Hits Studio; New Album Due In 2020

Upstart Canadian metallers TRAVELER are currently recording their second full-length album, due in March 2020 via Gates Of Hell Records. The band’s 2019 self-titled debut was released to critical acclaim, with Toilet Ov Hell hailing it as a “starbreaking smash” and Metal Observer calling it a “strong contender for album of the year.”

“It’s been an amazing year,” says guitarist, founding member and primary songwriter Matt Ries. “It has exceeded our expectations way beyond what we thought, and is a really good introduction to what’s to come! Playing Western Canada, to Chicago, all the way to Germany, it’s been a great learning experience on how to improve our shows. It’s been an amazing ride. We can’t wait to keep this train rollin’.”

According to Ries, TRAVELER’s new album is “nearly completely written,” with the band needing to tighten up a few things while they continue to track drums. Like their self-titled album, Jan Loncick will be manning the production board. “We will be doing this similar to what we did last time, except we’ll be stepping up the production just a little more,” says Ries. “No triggers, though. Never triggers. But Jan knows what we want and how to deliver the goods. We’ve always had great chemistry with him so why fix what ain’t broke?

 

“The songs are more in the same vein, but with more dynamics to the structures,” he continues. “There are some blazing fast songs and some slower, feely-tunes, and some right in the middle. There’s more to work with this time around.”

Ries and TRAVELER have more to work with largely because the band had some leftover songs from the self-titled album. Furthermore, there has been additional input from vocalist Jean-Pierre Abboud, who has taken over most of the lyrical duties, and bassist Dave Arnold, who has contributed a song from his previous band, STRIKER.

“Also, our new friend JP Fortin of DEAF DEALER has gifted us a song of his that never made it to a DEAF DEALER album,” notes Ries. “It’s an absolute honor to do this for him. So, with the two songs I didn’t write, it alleviated some pressure to take on all the writing again. It’s a way different approach this time around with JP and Dave’s help. I still don’t know how most of these will sound when it’s complete, which is a little nerve-racking, but exciting at the same time.”

 

Ries says TRAVELER is almost done booking their 2020 “Warriors Of The North” European tour. The band will also be playing the “Hell’s Heroes” festival in Texas later in 2020. Coupled with the new album, some new art and merch and 2020 is looking bright for TRAVELER. “It’s going to be a banger,” says Ries. “We’re stoked to see everyone there. Thank you all for the support!”

German Speedsters TORPËDO Join GATES OF HELL RECORDS

Gates Of Hell Records is proud to announce the signing of Nuremberg, Germany speed metallers TORPËDO. The label will re-release the band’s 2019 “Mechanic Tyrants” demo in early 2020 with brand-new cover art.
Originally formed in November 2018 as a side-project with the goal of covering old-school metal songs while peppering in a few of their own compositions, TORPËDO became a serious band once its members realized how strong their chemistry was. The band got to work on the “Mechanic Tyrants” demo — it sold out quickly, prompting TORPËDO to go on a search for a record company.

“We wrote to several labels we thought would fit our band and got to choose between three or four of them,” says bassist Danny Keck. “In the end, we settled for Gates Of Hell for several reasons: the medium they wanted to release the demo (CD and vinyl), they have a good reputation and they signed a lot of bands that we like personally like TRAVELER, VULTURES VENGEANCE and PULVER.”

“Mechanic Tyrants” was recorded in a basement studio of the band’s Nuremberg hometown. (“Everything was improvised down there; there wasn’t even a toilet — we just used the sink,” laughs Keck.) The members of TORPËDO (who are rounded out by vocalist/guitarist Flo Fait, second guitarist Alex Starbreaker and drummer Phil Srešý) took a truly hands-on approach: They mixed and mastered the demo themselves, leading to its raw, but natural feel, one that harnesses the band’s influences of NWOBHM and speed metal.

The one difference between the original release of “Mechanic Tyrants” and the Gates Of Hell Records version is the album cover. The band has decided to update the cover art with a drawing courtesy of Fait. “The original cover is totally ugly which was the reason we used it in the first place,” says Keck. “We thought it was funny. To be honest, we still think it’s funny. Never had we thought that we would receive such good feedback. So, we figured that since this was going to be a re-release, we need to come up with a better cover, especially since it will be released on vinyl.”
Keck says TORPËDO already has five new songs in the can and several more in the works. In the meantime, the young thrashers will be doing what they do best: bringing their brand of metal in front of a live audience.
“I guess people in front of the stage can describe it better than the guys on stage, but I’ll try it anyway: I would say our shows are energetic, with lots of movement and headbanging on stage,” wraps Keck. “And honest. I think we do a very honest live show. We totally believe in what we do up there on stage and stand behind it one-hundred percent.”

TERRIFIANT Signs With GATES OF HELL RECORDS

Belgian throwback metal miscreants TERRIFIANT are the latest addition to the Gates Of Hell Records roster. The label will issue the band’s debut full-length in February 2020.

As the story goes, TERRIFIANT was formed when garrulous, rough-housing troublemaker guitarist ZZ Slop met a “mysterious sleazeball” by the name of Lord Terrifiant at a festival parking lot. The two proceeded to hash out their idea for a metal band that would commit itself to the “ways of old and forgotten metal gods of yore.” Enter TERRIFANT.

The band’s lineup was eventually rounded out in 2018 after scouring every back alley, dive bar and street corner in their native Brussels, eventually landing the services of Alcoloic (drums), SlimeValdi (guitars) and Sniffany Baggs (bass). Terrifiant, appropriately enough, found their sound by mixing the rawness of NWOBHM and early U.S. metal, along with strong nods to metal from the Far East. The result is an uncompromising offering to the metal gods backed with a “fist full of rock ‘n’ roll attitude and seriously bad intentions.”

To date, TERRIFIANT has just a self-titled demo released via Messe Noir to their credit, which can be streamed below. A seven-inch version is coming soon.

(PHOTO CREDIT: Sam Barhd)

SÖLICITÖR Sign With Gates Of Hell Records; Re-Release Of Debut EP Coming This Fall

Seattle speed metal upstarts SÖLICITÖR have inked a deal with Gates Of Hell Records for the reissue of their debut 2019 EP, with a proper full-length album to follow next spring.

Formed in 2018 after the split of Seattle bands SUBSTRATUM and HEXENGEIST, SÖLICITÖR plays a brand of breakneck thrash carried through by the banshee vocals of Amy Lee Carlson. Because of Carlson’s presence and the band’s seamless blend of power, speed and thrash metal, SÖLICITÖR will immediately appeal to fans of CHASTAIN, LIEGE LORD, MERCYFUL FATE, EXCITER and “Painkiller”-era JUDAS PRIEST.

SÖLICITÖR, who are rounded out by the guitar tandem of Matthew Vogan and Patrick Fry, bassist Damon Cleary-Erickson and drummer Johann Waymire, had the deck stacked against them when choosing their name. Like so many current bands, the number of good names available is dwindling, but in a prescient move, SÖLICITÖR chose a name that wouldn’t pigeonhole them, while including the always vaunted umlaut in the fashion of MOTÖRHEAD and MÖTLEY CRÜE.

“We didn’t have many choices to pick from as far as originality or graphic simplicity,” says Carlson. “Single words and a bold logo almost always work best regardless of the name itself. It’s ambiguous and gives no clue as to what we might sound like. Plus, it’s kind of sleazy and makes you wonder who the hell we are.”

The band’s correspondence with Gates Of Hell started when SUBSTRATUM was still active. But once Carlson sent over some initial demo tracks, SÖLICITÖR quickly became the newest member of the Gates Of Hell roster. Their first release for the label will be the reissue of their self-titled debut EP, which was recorded by Cody J. Brumlow of WEAPONLORD in Mountlake Terrace at Hangar 12 Studios. “Matthew had a handful of songs on the backburner, and once Patrick got a hold of them, things progressed quickly,” notes Carlson on how the EP came together. “We had nothing holding us back and everything to prove — we’re hungry for whatever comes next and we hope to keep delivering with vengeance.”

While SÖLICITÖR lays the groundwork for their first full-length album, the band is currently laying to waste audiences across Canada and the Midwestern part of the United States. Before you know it, the band will be bringing their firebrand take on thrash metal overseas.

“We’ll be playing with ROADRASH from Vancouver and SEAX from Massachusetts in Seattle, and for our Portland date in September, we’ll be joined by BEWITCHER,” wraps Carlson. “We were just confirmed for Street Metal Massacre Fest in Philadelphia on October 19 with WHIPLASH, BITCH and BONEHUNTER. And of course, we are looking forward to seeing you all at Keep It True 2020 in Germany!”

VORTEX “THEM WITCHES” OUT IN SEPTEMBER!

Great news! On September 20, 2019 Dutch legend VORTEX, will release their new album “Them Witches” on Gates of Hell Records!

On October 4, 2019 the band will play a release-show in Groningen together with another Dutch legend, PICTURE!

One of the first practitioners of heavy metal in the Netherlands, Vortex formed in 1979, a time when the style was a blank canvas. Influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, the early compositions of founding member and primary songwriter Martjo “Whirwolf” Brongers revealed a band capable of writing powerful, harmony-dominated metal that would quickly make Vortex a cult favorite in their home country. Since their appearance on 1982’s Holland Heavy Metal Vol. 2 – Live in Brouwershoeck, Vortex has steadfastly flown the Dutch metal flag, never chasing trends and always remaining true to themselves. Although mainstream and commercial acceptance has forever eluded the band, Vortex hasn’t lasted 40 years by sheer luck. Them Witches is a testament to the forever-burning flame of old-school metal.

In 2018, Brongers digitized the band’s old demos. Along the way, he uncovered songs originally intended for the band’s third album, which was supposed to see the light of day in 1987. Realizing the potential of these songs, Brongers called vocalist Jurgen “Thunderforce” Tichelaar with the idea to re-record the demos in preparation for the band’s 40th anniversary. Tracked at Soundlodge Studios in Germany, the resultant Them Witches is a ten-song platter of tried-and-true, anthemic metal cuts, guided by soaring twin-guitar harmonies and festival-ready sing-alongs. From headstrong NWOBHM gallops to mid-tempo romps and everything in between, Them Witches honors the timeless art of pure, no-frills heavy metal songwriting, made all the more remarkable that every song here was written over 30 years ago.

Vortex, who are rounded out by second guitarist Orion Roos, bassist Harm Ten Hoove and drummer Henk Bosma, have kept the metal flame burning for 40 years simply out of love and their respect for the genre. They are simply “classic guys playing classic metal,” a line Brongers and his bandmates can rightfully lay claim to (and should probably slap on the back of t-shirts).

THE METAL BATS ARE BACK!

SKELATOR Inks Deal With GATES OF HELL RECORDS; New Album ‘Cyber Metal’ Due In June

(Cover art illustration and design by Dordji Bowles and Ryan Rich)

Veteran west coast metallers SKELATOR has signed with Gates Of Hell Records for the release of their fifth studio album, “Cyber Metal”. The album is due June 14 in European territories and June 21 in North America.

Formed in 1998, SKELATOR has capably flown the flag of never-say-die true metal, harnessing Jason Conde-Houston’s stratospheric vocal range, dueling guitar harmonies and battle-tested rhythms. SKELATOR originally met Cruz Del Sur Music/Gates Of Hell owner Enrico Leccese in 2013, who relayed word that SLOUGH FEG leader Mike Scalzi suggested the label sign the band. Fast-forward six years and the two parties have joined forces for “Cyber Metal”.

“Creating ‘Cyber Metal’ was a long process for us, not just recording and writing, but finding the right lineup as well,” says Conde-Houston. “We started writing for the album in 2016 but had two incidents of needing to find a bass player to round out the lineup which effectively put a stop to the writing process. Luckily in 2017, we found Darin Wall and he brought the driving bass that we needed to solidify the lineup. His playing immediately locked in with Pat’s [Seick] ‘rock bomb’ drumming style and enabled Robbie [Houston] and Rob [Steinway] to focus in on delivering the guitar harmonies and heavy riffs and allowed us to shape the band’s sound into what we have always wanted. I can say without hesitation that this current lineup of the band is the most talented and cohesive that it has ever been.”

With the goal of making “Cyber Metal” their “most polished effort to date,” SKELATOR has assembled a batch of songs that deftly combine modern German power metal (GRAVE DIGGER, PRIMAL FEAR) as well as classic influences such as JUDAS PRIEST and RIOT. The result is an album with no shortage of screaming vocals, high-flying guitar solos, thunderous bass, gated drums and even extra doses of keyboards.

The album was recorded throughout 2018 between a variety of studios, including drums at Hangar 12 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington and vocals with Matt Roach at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver, British Columbia. The rest of the tracking was handled by the guitar duo of Houston and Steinway, who eventually put the finishing touches on the album this past December. “It was a long grueling process but it was well worth it because now we have the best sounding SKELATOR record to date,” says Conde-Houston.

Thematically, Conde-Houston says SKELATOR had one rule: No songs about swords, unless they are laser swords. “We touch on movies and comics that have inspired us since we were kids in the ‘80s. Songs like ‘Akira’, ‘Highlander’ and ‘Seven Scars’ are all obvious nerd-out lyrics based on decades of watching the same movies over and over. But the songs are still anthems and we still have at least one track about playing true metal.”

Now past the 20-year mark as a band, “Cyber Metal” finds SKELATOR at the top of their game with the same drive and passion as when they started. “The hard part about keeping a band together for 20 years is the fact that we are all getting older and have more and more responsibilities,” concludes Conde-Houston. “But the beauty of having this band for so long is that we have a great legacy of albums to share with the world, and we all enjoy what we do and have the drive to keep doing it. As hard as it was to create this new album, it is a joy to listen to. This is our most ambitious record and the catchiest as well. I think it will please SKELATOR fans new and old. Even if you are a ‘Give Me Metal Or Give Me Death’, purest you’ll be still be singing along to tracks like ‘Cast Iron’ or ‘Cyber Samurai’.”

 

“Cyber Metal” track listing:

  1. Cyber Samurai
  2. Cast Iron
  3. The Hammer
  4. Highlander
  5. Akira
  6. Erlkönig
  7. Seven Scars
  8. Psychic Silver Wheels