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Almora - Gates of Time

Almora - CD Review
Gates of time

CD Info

Zihni Muzik
12 Tracks
Lyrics Turkey - English / Turkish (1 track)
Medieval Folk Metal

Turkey? What? Yes, you read it right. Turkey, a land that is not known for its metal, or it's allegiance to Washington, (but we'll leave politics' alone for this review), has come up with a very stunning effort on this album by Almora. "Gates of Time" is the debut album by the band, and what a debut they have unleashed on the world. Medieval Folk Metal with flute, violin, male and soprano female vocals. Some of you femme vocal enthusiasts may not appreciate the male vocals, which alternate from song to song, but when the songs with female vocals weigh in, they will have no problem falling in love with this effort. The femme vox is that good. Is a matter of fact, the band employ two females in their ranks, only one doesn't sing at all, she just plays. The flute. And might I say, very adequately.

The names, for this part of the review, are going to be a bit difficult. But I think I can handle it. I'll start with Bilge Kocaarslan, the flutist (she is the blonde haired one on the back of the cover). Her stark playing is all over this release and as I've stated, she is very good. With that, I'll cover Nihan T., (dark haired one) who is the lead female vocalist, and also plays the violin. Nihan, has a very nice soft voice. A bit Indian sounding and operatic in her vocal approach, but she's Turkish, make no mistake. She plays a folkish style of violin, which fits the music perfectly. Her voice is also very upfront in the tracks she does sing on. I will not compare her to any other female vocalist, for she is new, and I have not yet, heard this style in the metal genre. Now for a difficult one: the lead male singer, Ahmet Sogutluoglu. He has a normal sounding voice that would not be out of place in a Power or Speed metal band. No growls, for those of you that may be turned off by that, although you would think, coming from Turkey, you would get something much deeper. Now here's the hard part. The instrumentalist's, Soner Canozer is the bands Guitar and Yayu Tambur player (no, Yayu is not a member of the band), which if I'm not mistaken, is a Turkish folk instrument. And you can correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, I have no idea whatsoever, where it appears in the music. I never heard one, myself. Burbak Canozer, the brother of Soner, also plays Guitar, (must be a family thing). Then there is A. Vefa Erdem on the Bass and Serken Karabiyik on Drums. They all sound like accomplished musicians to these ears and the two guitarists’ are standouts.

At this time, I will take some kudos for discovering this band for Sonic Cathedral. Let me explain. From time to time, J. W. III and I swap CDR'S, in an effort to bring to the surface, these fine bands from all over the world. And, there are tons of them, with no end in sight. He first had this album as a CDR copy from me, about three months ago. That is why you see it for sale in the store recently. Just about everything I find thru research, John gets in the store. I am always searching for new talent. If you notice, from reading my reviews, 75% of the music I write about is from newer bands just starting out. I do cover, sometimes, older bands that have established themselves already. Nothing more needs to be said about those bands, they have made it, in my opinion. All that needs to be done with them is to keep updated on newer releases. Anyway, the upstarts are what really interest me. Enough babbling. On to the music on "Gates of Time".

At their website, they describe themselves as a Power Metal band. Unless they don't know what Power Metal is, nothing could be further from the truth. As I see it (hear it), this music is more on the Folkish metal side with a kind of medieval sound and some elements of Celtic, here and there. The songs alternate from female fronted singing to male fronted, soloing all the way thru, and are very up beat. For example, Nihan T., does the opening acoustic intro and the following track is done by Ahmet, then Nihan again, and so on and so on. The title track "Gates of Time" is number ten and is an instrumental. There is one track on the album which is in the Turkish language, that being number eleven "Masalci"/ or "The Stormwinder", for us English language fans. Make no mistake, this is a very good debut for the band and in my opinion, have a very bright future. It is very rare for me to rave this highly about a debut album from a band that no one has heard of, until now. If your looking for a reference band, possibly the Celtic Metal band " Cruachan" may have been an influence. Production and sleeve design are also done very professionally for a novice band. The album is a Sonic Cathedral exclusive find, by me, and sold, by them. Something a bit different for all of you to try. Recommended!