Thus far, “Fire, Walk With Me” by VII Gates has been my favorite release of the batch of Sound Riot Records we have recently received. While they are similar to several other bands on the label in terms of melodic power/speed metal, VII Gates seems to have that “extra” something in their sound that puts them a step up on some of their labelmates.
Lead track “Bounded By Hate” would make a strong metal radio single with its catchy hook/chorus all the while maintaining its heaviness. Vocalist Criss Blackburn has a confident vocal style that meshes well with the guitar and keyboard leads and fills. The mid-tempoed “So Far Away” is an exceptional track that features emotional guitar riffs provided by Tim Diaz, JJ Rockford and Robert “Basti” Makek. This track is another potential metal radio single. Blackburn’s vocals are awesome on this song. “Love Ballet” is far from a ballad and features some really good harmony vocals. Closing track “The Madman Inside” times in at over seven minutes and again features some firey guitars. Credit to must be given to the tight back-end provided by Moe Ason (Bass) and Mick van Slowfoot on drums.
Musically, some of the bands that I can compare VII Gates would be Pretty Maids and a rather obscure group called Hammerhead (who featured Ian Parry on vocals).
The back cover of the disc features the band and some ladies in/on an old convertible which sure looks like a mid 60’s Pontiac or Chevy. (Great car!) “Fire, Walk With Me” is well worth searching out and grows on you more and more with repeated listens.