GATES OF DOOM – Aquileia Mater Aeterna
- by ER
- Posted on 28-04-2021
Founded in 2012 by Manuel Scapinello (guitars) and Davide Zago (drums), the Roman Empire-fascinated act had independently released two EPS: the eponymous (2015) and "Forvm Ivlii" (2018) before the distributor Cult Of Parthenope helped them pave the way to this, their debut full length. Meanwhile, Zago yielded his drumset to Giulia Zuliani (2015) having decided to focus solely on production, mixing and mastering, while the founding guitarist Scapinello co-opted Stefano Declich (vocals), Francesco Nobile (guitars) and Luca Franzin (bass) to record "Aquileia Mater Aeterna".
As far as debuts are concerned, this record is very impressive, so much so that I was surprised to have found out it was a debut. Everything, from the excellent production to thoughtful and skilful execution (especially in the lead work) is top notch and even the songwriting, though flawed, sometimes gets brilliant, as in the closing epic title track which can give Amon Amarth a run for their money. In the more progressive and fairly complex "I, the Eagle, The Strength, The Power", NILEistic chants give way to IMMOLATIONary and Middle Eastern guitarwork with the stop-start riffs reminiscent of FEAR FACTORY’s "Concrete" days, while the equally great "The Galenus Plague" and Under a Treacherous Domain" bring early THIS ENDING and contemporary Heaven Shall Burn to mind.
The one obvious flaw from the first spin is that, despite a great number of transitions and acoustics, chants, etc. the tracks are generally in the same vein and one doesn’t seem to gain much insight from additional exposure. To quote Anthrax from "American Pompeii", "it started to loose me like a 4 hour movie I’ve already seen" already on my 3rd spin and that’s why the 5/6 material gets a 4.5/6 score from me.