"Covered In Black"

By Colonel Angus

I had the pleasure of reviewing “Horizons” by this prog metal group back in 2014 and it was one of my favorite releases of that year.  Their previous release left me cold but they did a one-eighty and got me on board in a big way.  So, when this was dropped off on my metaphorical desk, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into this new disk.  Since it was the same group of guys creating “Covered In Black” as “Horizons”, my expectations were high. After just one listen, I’m happy to say that Anubis Gate met my expectations with “Covered In Black” and with repeated plays it is exceeding those expectations set by “Horizons”.

“Covered In Black” has many melodic moments but it is mixed with prog and heavier thrash-y elements to satisfy any Dream Theater fan out there.  I’m not trying to say that they are copying a sound; just saying that there are many different sounds mixed in metal to give it a true prog metal vibe.  “The New Delhi Assassination” starts off with the sounds of India before it switches back to prog metal.  Along those same lines, “Operation Cairo” starts off with Egyptian musical sounds.  These international bits and pieces take you away and give you a visual soundscape of those lands.  The three tunes that start the back half of the disk “Black”, “Blacker”, and “Blackest” musically almost go in reverse with “Blackest” being the mellowest of the three.  Lyrically, this album is dark but the melodies and vocals somehow give the record a feeling of hope.  I can’t explain it other than music touches people differently.  As with “Horizons”, this record is great start to finish and I would recommend you listen to it like that (at least the first time). Even upon multiple spins, I find it difficult to play just certain tracks and I find myself either listening to whole thing or not listening to it until I have the time to really absorb it.  Henrik Fevre shines again on vocals but I have to say, Kim Olesen and Michael Bodin both have come up with some great guitar work throughout.  They definitely shred when necessary but they are able to switch gears and provide musical soundscapes giving each song a big sound.  Morten Gade Sorensen also puts in an impressive performance with his powerful drumming and thrash elements.

Given that “Horizons” set the bar so high and now that “Covered In Black” raised it even further, I might need to lower my standards for their next disk.  Either way, this album has secured its place in my top 10 of 2017.  I just hope I don’t need to wait another three years for their next release but if it takes that long to put out great music, so be it.