It is always a treat to discover yet another traditional heavy metal band from Toronto. Just when you think the scene can’t possibly have any more bands, a new one pops up. In this case, it is Killtide with their 2014 EP “From Gates of Hell”. This release is very interesting when compared to many of Killtide’s Toronto peers, because while it undoubtedly is rooted in the sound of the 80s, Killtide is able to inject more modern influences into this music. This is particularly noticeable in the drums, which uses a lot of double bass and rhythmic patterns (see the intro of “Pray With Me” for the most blatant example) that you tend to hear in more modern metal bands. Nevertheless, the riffs are largely born and bred in the old-school vein, with bands like Judas Priest, Dio, and others seeming to be of inspiration.
Of course, this release features all of the other elements that make traditional heavy metal so great: incredible melodies and solos, bass playing that you can actually hear, and a passionate singer. Killtide’s vocalist is one of those guys who is great because of his enthusiasm. I don’t think anyone could argue he’s a better technical singer than guys like Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson, but he doesn’t try to be. Instead, he gives a rocking performance that is a perfect fit for the music.
One of the really interesting elements about “From Gates of Hell” is the progression in the songwriting. Killtide is not a prog band, but it feels like most of the songs have really strong transitions between riffs and sections. This is in large part due to the drums, which refrain from playing standard rock beats all the time, and instead switch things up a lot. The drums are probably a bit too high in the mix, but it does help to reinforce these changes. It would not surprise me to find out these drums are programmed, as they don’t sound the most organic, but this sound doesn’t really take away from the EP at all.
Amongst a very crowded scene, Killtide does enough to stand out. Though this is a short EP, it manages to leave an impact. The songs might not be quite as strong as Skull Fist’s or Cauldron’s, but they good enough that this EP is worth purchasing, and Killtide is worth following. Ultimately, “From Gates of Hell” is an inspired work that has set the stage for some incredible future releases.
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"Pray With Me"
4.0/5 or 80%.
Written by Scott