BeatRoute is proud to premiere “Warrior Without Fear,” a single from the forthcoming Gatekeeper album East of Sun. Mighty and galloping, the song evokes classic metal of old. Of the track, guitarist Geoff Black says, “I had “Where Eagles Dare” by [Iron] Maiden and “Mighty & Superior” by Isen Torr in mind when coming up with the first few riffs.” Take a listen and judge for yourself, and read our interview below.
Considering East of Sun has been nearly a decade in the making, expectations are high for the debut full-length by Western Canadian metal band Gatekeeper. Formed as a solo project in Edmonton by Geoff Black in 2009, the band has gone through numerous formations before settling into their current form in Vancouver. Now, their line-up features Black alongside bassist David Messier, drummer Tommy Tro, second guitarist Kenny Kroecher, and vocalist Jean-Pierre Abboud.
Featuring eight songs on the lavish vinyl edition and 10 songs on the CD edition, East of Sun channels the best aspects of old school power doom, and is chock full of epic storytelling and driving rhythms. Despite several songs being reworked versions of older tracks that have appeared on previous releases, the album is cohesive and coherent courtesy of updated vocals, far superior guitar work, and different production befitting the material.
“We had a lot of discussions about re-recording older material for this first album, as a move like that might be frowned upon by some people. However, I think the performances, production and differences in arrangement are more than enough to justify our choices,” says band leader Black.
“The only songs that are ‘new,’ as in the ideas for the songs didn’t exist before we reformed the band, are “East of Sun” and “Blade of Cimmeria.” I wrote the rest of the songs five or more years ago. I barely knew how to play guitar back then so to me the versions you hear on the album are more fully realized. The vocal performance is wildly different, the drumming and guitar playing is stronger and there are more interesting details that we weren’t able to pull off before.”
Gatekeeper has been floating around for almost a decade, but with the new line-up and full-length came many new and exciting opportunities. The band was signed to taste making European label Cruz del Sur Music, and has numerous shows in the near future. The change from their previous form was hard learned.
“We were trying to book tours with the new line-up, and we found it really difficult for people to take us seriously,” Black remarked.
“The people that we already knew were booking us just fine, but getting strangers to take a shot on a band that didn’t have a full-length just wasn’t happening.”
Now that the band has the album recorded, they have been able to show promoters their epic sound, and have been billed for festivals across Europe. They recently announced they are not only billed for the Keep It True XXI Festival alongside epic metal titans like Heavy Load and Demon in Germany this April, but also have been added to the Hell Over Hammaburg Festival for 2019.
Black describes these opportunities as “A childhood dream.”
“When I first started the band, I didn’t really have (this) as a goal. I just put out a demo here, an EP there, and did it for fun,” he says.
“When the band started getting traction and getting gigs from other bands that we were fans of, we figured that maybe we could actually take a swing at this.”Cruz del Sur Records, doom metal, East of the Sun, Epic Heavy Metal, Gatekeeper, premiere, Vancouver Metal