We’re super-excited to announce our new collaboration: Canadian Tyrant-Queen Annick Giroux (Cauchemar / Temple of Mystery Records) will be taking care of layout for the future Gates Of Hell releases on a regular basis.
Annick’s already worked with us in the past creating awesome layouts for Chevalier – FIN and Skelator.
She’s incredibly talented and metal to the bone and we’re stoked to have her aboard.
FIRE AND ICE!
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!”
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!
(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:
- Cyber Samurai
- Cast Iron
- The Hammer
- Seven Scars
- Psychic Silver Wheels
German metal throwbacks PULVER are now streaming “Kings Under The Sand”, the title track from their forthcoming first full-length, via Deaf Forever.
“Kings Under The Sand” was recorded in October of 2018 at Big Snuff Studio in Berlin, Germany, with producer Richard Behrens at the helm. The artwork was handled by Max Löffler. Featuring eight cuts of gritty, but classic metal, “Kings Under The Sand” capitalizes upon the promise PULVER showed on their 2018 debut self-titled EP. Right up the alley for fans of NWOBHM heroes TANK and German mainstays ACCEPT, PULVER relish in the glow of steely songwriting, oscillating between feverish gallops and grueling mid-tempo romps, all with a storyline about the “Phantom Hawk” alien warrior tribe that made its first appearance on the band’s self-titled EP!
Kings Under the Sand track listing:
- Phantom Hawk
- Blacksmith’s Lament
- Kings Under the Sand
- Warrior Caste
- Alpha Omega
- Curse of the Pharaoh
IRON GRIFFIN, the vintage metal project from MAUSOLEUM GATE drummer Oskari Räsänen, will release its first full-length, “Curse Of The Sky” on March 22 via Gates Of Hell Records.
LISTEN TO “REIGN OF THUNDER” on BANDCAMP!
The follow-up to the band’s 2017 self-titled EP, the instrumentation for “Curse Of The Sky” was recorded in July of 2018 at Räsänen’s rehearsal room in Kuopio, Finland. Vocals were tracked in Joensuu, while synthesizers were recorded in Helsinki. Like the self-titled EP, “Curse Of The Sky” finds Räsänen once again handling all instrumentation and recording the album himself. He is joined by a new face, female vocalist Maija Tiljander, who he discovered several years ago singing European power metal covers in a Finnish bar. Impressed, he took a mental note of Tiljander’s abilities and when it came time to work on “Curse Of The Sky”, he felt compelled to track the vocalist down.
“I found her through social media and straightly asked if she would be interested in an album project like this,” he says. “She responded, ‘Of course I am!’ Long story short, I did not know her before, I took a bus to Joensuu with my portable recording equipment and we had a pleasant demo session. I was really impressed with her abilities and sound and how greatly she adapted my ideas. Maija’s vocals give really unique twist to IRON GRIFFIN. This kind of metal is enchanted with powerful and high-pitched vocals is something really unique and cool.”
“Curse Of The Sky” traverses the familiar road of classic, proto-metal, with Rasanen’s savvy songwriting being the guide as he takes the listener through songs of fantasy and folk tales. Inspired by U.S. power metal and progressive folk/rock, Räsänen also looked toward doom metal for atmosphere and melancholy. “I tried to channel epic-ness in the instrumentation and especially in the vocals. I was highly influenced by the vocals in MAJESTIC RYTE, ENCHANTER on their ‘Defenders Of The Realm’ album and STORMBRINGER’s ‘Stealer Of Souls’. But on the other hand, folk bands like PENTANGLE, RENAISSANCE, MELLOW CANDLE, COMUS, MIDWINTER, CHIMERA, MORITA DOJI, HAKO YAMASAKI have all stuck so hard in my subconscious. If you’re aware of this kind of music, you might hear something similar and familiar in ‘Curse Of The Sky’.”
While he’s very much comfortable in a full band environment like MAUSOLEUM GATE, in IRON GRIFFIN, Räsänen admits that working alone does present its share of obstacles, especially when he wants to try new ideas out. But, through the process of elimination and sheer perseverance, Räsänen is often able to emerge with songs he can stand by, which is why he will continue to do all instrumentation himself.
“The best thing about doing music by yourself is that there are no boundaries, you can do whatever you want,” he says. “There is no one presenting bad opinions or shitty riffs, ha-ha! If you want to make even more over-the-top vocal melodies or anything weird and un-acceptable, you can just do it. No compromises have to be done. When working as a full band, it’s always about making compromises and struggling through what is good and what is not from everybody’s opinion. That is why making your own music in your own ways is really refreshing. At least for me it is. Still, the greatest motivation to make a full-length was to challenge myself and become better both in composing music and playing various instruments.”
“Curse Of The Sky” track listing:
2. Reign of Thunder
3. Forgotten Steel
4. Lost Legion
5. Curse of the Sky
6. Dawn of Struggle
7. To the Path of Glory