Gate 9 - Moon Ranger Gone Evil
Even though Gate 9 lean towards the fuzzy and atmospheric end of doom, their gaping maw structures yield more than the usual quota of melodies, vocalist Jan Sorensen singing with a clear anthemic (yet laconic) hollar over songs that are slow but sweetly stoned. Opener Dwarves Of Might is the clear winner, but La Strada Astra is also a trip, more like mellow Nirvana crossed with Hawkwind while Slaves Of Tide also rides strong vocal melodies. The production is big, boomy and bad, perfect for the band's power trio/jam band bruising. No rules, no hurry, so often no pay-off, making the record somewhat of a dragger, mesmerizing then parched and back around the ring again. See www.underdogma.com for more info.
Raven - All Systems Go!
With Sanctuary's purchase of scrappy New Wave Of British Heavy Metal label Neat, there's a spate of reissues on the horizon. Venom and Raven were the label's marquee acts, and here we have the latter up for assault and battery, All Systems Go! crashing through 20 tracks on a technologically dangerous 80 minute CD. The package covers the band's first three albums, the third of which (All For One) is one of the stone-proud monoliths of the whole Brit metal movement. As well, All Systems Go! includes the band's heralded duet with Udo Dirkschneider on Born To Be Wild, basically the best version you will ever hear of that song, plus some b-sides, a band history from Classic Rock's Dave Ling and some reminiscing Kerrang! press clippings.
Hard Reviews Page 6