Gates of Ishtar
The Dawn of Flames
Fine speed Scandinavian speed metal from a band taking the name of an unholy, yet strangely important, historical location. Where are the Gates of Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven? Hint: Saddam Hussein rules over them.
This intense five-piece is a good example of what happens when you emulate Slayer, and emulate them well. Gates of Ishtar play super fast, aggressive speed metal that takes on a theme of fantasy warriors and adventure.
The band has strong musicianship, and the first song, which comes in three parts, includes a heavy instrumental, that clearly points back to a youth spent listening to Black Sabbath while sailing up the fjords. Although I think from songs like “Trail of Tears,” “Dreamfields,” and “The Embrace of Winter,” they’re not focusing on evil or related subjects like Slayer. Then again, they have songs like “Forever Scarred,” “Eternal Sin,” and “Dawn of Flames,” so maybe they’re dabbling in the demonic. Regardless, the production is really good and this album should provide the appropriate speed metal fix to all those headbangers out there. Metal Blade Records, 2828 Cochran St., Suite 302, Simi Valley, CA 93065-2793; http://www.iuma.com/Metal_Blade