Review by Felix on August 31, 2022.
Finally. It has happened. A dude from Oregon proves evidence that even US Americans are able to play black metal. Honestly speaking, I thought the country a former president wanted to make great again was suffering from a national genetic defect. But things have changed and now we are able to enjoy The Gates.
Are we really able? Well, it lies in the eye of the beholder. Everybody who gets in contact with this work should be aware of the fact that here everything has been heard before. The band name Ancient North has not been chosen by coincidence, the artwork looks like the twin of Gorgoroth’s “Antichrist”, the sound takes us back to the low-fidelity attacks of the old Norwegian role models and of course there is a Darkthrone cover included. No doubt, I have said it a lot of times: I do not need innovation. But this does not mean that it is cool to record an album without the slightest vision of an individual approach. Okay, just like Cold Earth, one can label an album as a tribute to somebody else and it can still work. Yet as far as I can see, the mastermind behind Ancient North does not want his way of proceeding to be understood in this way and so I ask myself whether we truly need a slavish imitation of the early outputs of this permanently overrated bunch called Gorgoroth?
Either way, maybe my answer to this question is less relevant than the quality of the music on The Gates. Ancient North, that much is true, have heard the old albums a lot of times and they are able to reproduce them more or less in a good way. The level of coldness is adequate, the simple song patterns lead directly to the abyss and the raw nagging seems to be stolen from the (imaginary) Norwegian black metal archives. Moreover, the material does not lack energy, drive or malignancy. Thus, you cannot do much wrong with The Gates, but it is easier to love the album whole-heartedly if you have committed suicide back in 1995. Little problem: if you read these lines, you have probably forgotten to do so. Thank God.
The drums sound pretty mechanized, the guitar lines avoid unexpected turns and some songs end very abruptly. Apart from the music, the constant use of “ov” instead of “of” seems a bit silly. Frankly, one can listen to each and every song, but at the end there is not much that keeps sticking in the ear and some additional layers would have given the tracks more depth. Given this situation, I am listening to a pretty one-dimensional work. Indeed, Ancient North demonstrate that US Americans can play black metal, but there is still a way to go in order to create outstanding songs of this genre.
Rating: 6.2 out of 10541