• 4/10
    EMERGENCY GATE - Nightly Ray - 4/10


Universal NL (Europe) / Vision Metal Records (USA)
Release date: May 12, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Emergency Gate are signed by a major label in Holland, they were demo of the month in Germany’s Metal Heart Magazine, and sold a self-produced EP a remarkable 1000 times. That’s impressive for a debut album, so now the challenge is to see if they can live up to expectations.

The first thing to overcome is the cover art. A blonde girl in a nightgown with a teddy bear looking up into a ray of light that sparkles somehow. Apart from the fact that the artist’s skills are of dubious nature, is that really Metal??? Okay, the teddy bear has kind of an evil expression, maybe he is going to mutate into a blonde-girls-devouring-plush-zombie next, but if it does: please jump forward to the gory scene a minute into the future?

But, what counts is the music, you want to listen to Metal not put the cover on your living room wall. The beginning is quite promising, but then Fabian Kiessling begins to sing. Hmmm. He sounds like he recorded his vocals at 2 a.m. in a German speakeasy. A fitting description would probably be this: Imagine a really trashed James Hetfield -– just with less power in his voice. (Side note: there’s obviously many cheap jokes that could be made on that subject – better to stay away from that temptation …).

Kiessling’s vocals stay that way throughout the whole album, and in spite of some nice tries, like the melody line in “Kill The Dying,” where it seems they had too many words to sing to fit into the melody, it is really difficult to try to like music when the singer is at such an obvious disadvantage. Another point for criticism is the keyboards — they are almost completely unnecessary and sound really plain and squeaky. Similar to the toy instruments you can buy for your kids (like those little organs with the colored keys), some keyboard sounds that Chris Rybak produces resemble being played on such a toy: blue, blue, green; blue, blue, green: red, grey, blue, blue, green; … most noticeably on “The Inside,” where the keyboards are really awful, or on “Breed Evil,” which has an 80’s sound to it in a negative way — old-fashioned, boring, and simple.

Finally, a word of criticism has to be voiced for the production. The mix was done by Spike Streefkerk, who has worked for Melissa Etherdige, Phil Collins, Lionel Ritchie, and a lot of other known acts — the only MER relevant one is Def Leppard. Suffice it to say that the sound could be improved. Maybe he did not have his best day, or Metal is just not his strong point.

But, believe it or not, this is not a completely bad album overall. The songwriting is quite original. Not one song is like another, and the band has a tendency to write short songs that rock straight to the point. They try to write original vocal lines, and some relatively ambitious melodies, even if Kiessling sometimes fails to really hit the mark and sounds out of key. Not in the Dead Moon sort of way, rather just plain annoying. Maybe they can look for a new singer and Kiessling can concentrate on his guitar play for the future? The songs would deserve such treatment.

In all fairness, keep in mind that this is a debut album, not counting their self-produced EP, so for a start it may not be their big hit, but there are enough promising attempts to at least keep an eye on Emergency Gate for the future. If they can write songs like “Another Day Nowhere” and “Soulstreamer,” which are really good even if you do not like Kiessling’s voice, you can rightfully expect that a better album is going to come from them. For the time being, this is just another below average release. But the material sounds like it can come across really well live, so if they ever come to your hometown, make sure to check them out!


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.