Wednesday, July 5, 2017

GATE 6 - God Machines (retail)

GATE 6 - God Machines (retail) full

One of you asked again for "God Machines", the excellent debut CD from GATE 6 featured here some time ago and one which visits my player.
If the album slipped under the radar when released, don't worry as the events on this fascinating piece of work takes place in year 2042, when the internet will become 'self-aware' and 'take control of vital systems everywhere' – the ultimate God Machine. Forewarned is forearmed, right?

Gate 6 are a Dutch band, who have a solid grounding in prog, ’80s hard rock and a certain type of science fiction.
Musically, "God Machines", their first album, is classy and surprisingly engaging. Imagine the drama and majesty of IQ and Magnum, the emotion of Asia or Marillion (circa ‘Seasons End’ and ‘Brave’), the melody of Saga and the metal edge of Queensrÿche, and you’re getting close.

The sound also benefits from a clean and modern-sounding production – courtesy of guitarist Tony ten Wolde, former member of the great and underrated act Marathon who released two excellent albums in the Nineties.
Curiously Tony ten Wolde previously played keyboards in Marathon, while Gate 6 keyboard player Jan Koster used to play guitar in Challenge and Isolation. The instrument swapping seems to have worked a treat.

Also strong and distinctive are the vocals of former Symmetry vocalist Erik Masselink who claims territory somewhere between IQ’s Peter Nicholls and a rougher Sam Blue (Ya Ya II, GTS) delivering an impressive and impassioned performance.
To pick some highlights: "Father Son" is a solid opening track, featuring as it does a crunching riff and great rumbling bass work from Jacques Suurmond (who builds fantastic tandem with drummer Martin Kuipers throughout). Title track "God Machines" is powerful and dramatic – and it’s always good to hear a band sounding like they mean it.

GATE 6 - God Machines (retail) booklet

"Casualties Of War" and "Man To Be" feature IQ-style melodies, sung with real conviction. It’s not difficult to image Steve Hogarth throwing himself into these tracks, and, still on a Marillion note, listen out for the Rothery-esque solos towards the end of the latter (an immense track that clocks in at 8:49) and the delicate ballad "I Am".

Elsewhere, "It’s Over" retains the band’s strong rock feel. Their sense of song composition may have its roots in early Genesis or Marillion but for the most part the songs are heavier, with meaty riffs often to the fore. "Killing Me" is a good example, as it rocks its way nicely towards a subtle, almost bluesy guitar solo against the backdrop of spacey keyboards and sensitive rhythms.
"11.26.2042" (remember that date, people) is an instrumental featuring a melancholic piano intro and a wonderfully textured soundscape that segues nicely into the equally impressive "Turn the Page".

GATE 6 - God Machines (retail) back

This is not a 'prog' (genre) album / band, it's progressive rock in its entire sense: Gate 6 explores awesome musical territories but always in a focused 'song spirit', melodic, hard rocking at places, even catchy if you ask me.
The songs, the arrangements, the performances and the incredible pristine production are top notch.

If rocked-up, elaborated progressive rock music is your thing, then you need to check Gate 6.
"God Machines" is one of the best albums in recent years successfully mixing heavy rocking rhythms with progressive song structures. It's not prog metal, nor neo-prog, but all in between.
Yeah, it¡s that good

01 - Father Son
02 - God Machines
03 - My Warning
04 - Casualities Of War
05 - Man To Be
06 - It's Over
07 - I Am
08 - Killing Me
09 - 26-11-2042
10 - Turn The Page
11 - Voices

Erik Masselink - vocals
Tony ten Wolde - guitars
Jan Koster - keyboards
Jacques Suurmond - bass
Martin Kuipers - drums




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