Keldian - Heaven's gate 5/5

Reviewed: 5-18-07


1. Crusader
2. Heart of the sun
3. Requiem for the light
4. Heaven's gate
5. Redshift
6. Salvation (Release me)
7. Sundancer
8. Prophecy
9. Beyond the stars
10. Plains of forever

Keldian's debut 'Heaven's gate' just might be the coolest thing I've heard in the last few years. Imagine the basic power metal style of bands like Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Nightscape, Citadel and Power Quest with a very strong AOR influence (think Europe, Journey, etc.), especially regarding the choruses. It's an exciting combination that has left me more than amazed and I'm loving every minute of every listen. Sure, this unique blend isn't going to be for everyone, but for some (me included), this just might be the next big thing!

Keldian is from Norway, and is surprisingly a 2-man band; Christer Andresen provides the clear, expressive and easily understood vocals, as well as all of the guitar work (including bass), while Arild Aardalen handles the keyboard and also the backing vocals. (The drums are contributed by Jorn Holen, but he's listed as a guest musician.) As a pair, their songwriting, passion and overall talent is nothing short of magnificent. 'Heaven's gate' is quite symphonic, contains some atmospheric parts, a few electronic parts and a creative violin segment too. As a whole, the CD has a space/sci-fi feel to it, which matches the cover artwork, song titles and lyrics; a bit of a break from the fantasy theme that usually exists on a power metal CD.

So yes, rest assured, the CD's base style is power metal, but I must mention that the guitars are not very heavy/powerful and the AOR influence is definitely present. As for tempo, with exception of the slow and soothing ballad "Redshift" (which features guest female vocals in harmony with Christer) and the closer "Plains of forever" (one of the best finishes to a CD I've heard in years), all of the songs are fairly fast with typical power metal riffs/rhythms and are pure excitment. It's the superb melodies and wonderful AOR-like choruses that make this CD stand out from the rest though. Really, every song is extremely memorable (whether slow or fast) and there is not a single moment of the addictive CD that I don't like.

I truly understand that 'Heaven's gate' won't be for everyone, but for those who have found satisfaction with some of my high recommendations in the past (regarding some of the more unique CDs), this is a CD you must head off and hear immediately, especially if you are looking for a fresh spin on the power metal genre. The CD has totally *clicked* with me and I'm thrilled with what Keldian has given us. Therefore, I firmly stamp 'Heaven's gate' as a "masterpiece".




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