Falkirk - Gates of dawn 3.5/5
1. At the gates of dawn
2. The endless quest
3. Crimson eyes
4. A way to follow
5. Two of a kind
7. Shadow realms part 1 - The shadow crown
8. Shadow realms part 2 - The citadel
9. Fading away
10. End of line
11. Silent cries
12. World's closing chapter
13. Beyond the gates of dawn
Falkirk is a band from France (Paris actually) that has 2 full-length CDs ('The day will come' and 'Magnus imperium') already in their discography, which makes 'Gates of dawn' the band's 3rd CD. Their style is epic power metal, pretty much in the center of the genre, but only the bands Human Fortress, Freternia and Ironware (with maybe a dash of Sarissa) come to mind when thinking of some possible comparisons. Human Fortress (and probably Ironware as well) is more melodic though, with a greater emphasis on songs and specifically choruses. Falkirk's impressions lie mostly with the guitar work and epic atmosphere. A few folk elements are present, but very little and hardly worth mentioning, as strong riffs are what the band is all about.
Vocally, Stephane Fradet has a voice that can be very clear at times, but is somewhat rough throughout the majority of the CD. Certainly far from being one of my favorite vocalists, but his vocal style is quite common in this genre and shouldn't deter fans from taking interest in the band.
As I previously hinted, the band doesn't really focus on memorable rhythms and choruses, but instead mixes up the tempo within each song and the guitar work seems to change direction quite a lot too. So between the music and the vocals, we get a high amount of unexpected turns, but this means that the CD's not near the boring end. Just don't expect to be singing along like you do when you're listening to Human Fortress (assuming you all have thier masterpiece 'Defenders of the crown').
Highlights include the first few songs, track 2 "The endless quest" (which follows the short intro "At the gates of dawn") and track 3 "Crimson eyes", the short but sweet track 7 "Shadow realms part 1 - The shadow crown" (a song with surprising female vocals... duet style), and the following "Shadow realms part 2 - The citadel", which is an awesome instrumental with many different guitar solos. But the best song on the CD is surely track 9 "Fading away", as both the vocals and music are spectacular. Unfortunately, the weakest song on the CD, track 12 "World's closing chapter" (where Stephane screams a few times, as opposed to sings), is also the longest, clocking in at over 10 minutes. The CD thankfully has a nice ending with the soft instrumental "Beyond the gates of dawn", but consistent quality in the songwriting department is something the band should improve on.
So add this CD to your list of very solid CDs that (if you're a fan of epic power metal) should be picked up at some point. I should mention that 'Gates of dawn' is their best CD to date, but my favorite songs from the band probably exist on the previous 'Magnus imperium', as the ending of that CD contains tremendous epic/symphonic power metal songs that really leave an impression.
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