ARCTIC FLAME – Guardian At The Gate

ARCTIC FLAME - Guardian At The Gate
  • 7.5/10
    ARCTIC FLAME - Guardian At The Gate - 7.5/10


Pure Steel Records
Release date: July 29, 2011

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Arctic Flame is a Classic Power Metal band from New Jersey, USA. Guardian At The Gate is the band’s third album, and it’s filled with sounds inspired by heavy weights like Iron Maiden, Iced Earth, Thin Lizzy, and Dream Theater. Arctic Flame has been around for ten years; founded by drummer Mike Paradine. The band became a local favorite around the New York City area and began opening for bands like Overkill, Motorhead, and W.A.S.P. It was through these early shows they got their big break and ended up recording their first album in Overkill bassist D.D. Verni’s studio.

The band recently went through some unexpected line-up changes, which led to the addition of classically trained vocalist Michael Clayton Moore. Moore’s theatrical high tenor voice is the key ingredient to the robust sound of Arctic Flame. Moore’s vocal style mostly resembles that of the legendary Ray Adler of Fates Warning. He has that natural storytelling ability that leads the listener through a musical journey and puts forth an incredible amount of passion and emotion into his work. His ability shines through during the title track “Guardian At The Gate”, which is a very moving and dramatic song primarily because of the extremely expressive vocal performance.

Musically, Arctic Flames flow through many different arrangements of Power and Progressive Metal. They produce classic dual guitar riffs made famous by the great Power Metal bands of the 80s. However, nothing is overpowering in their music, the riffs are very solid and requisite. You won’t find any wild and raucous guitar solos that will blow you away, or blazing machine gun drum beats. The musicianship as a whole is understated. Not that there is a lack of talent or the artistry is bad, rather, it simply seems as if the band is holding back. Even during the instrumental track “Falkenfels”, the listener is left waiting for the song to take off to another level, but unfortunately it remains very rudimentary.

One of the most exciting songs on the album is “A Wailing At Glen Coor”, which is a tribute to Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy. Of course, the song has a great Thin Lizzy riff and vibe, and once again the heroic emotional vocals of Moore excel significantly. One of the other noteworthy tracks is “The Eternal”. Coming in at over ten minutes in length, this song is considerably darker than any of the other tracks, and has more of an early Iced Earth feel, with very heavy guitar riffs and sinister vocals.

Overall, Arctic Flame is a very good band just short of becoming a great band. These guys have a very bright future if they could just step out of the box a little bit and produce a more exhilarating sound that puts them over the top. There is no doubt they have all the ingredients to do so.


  • Sean Meloy

    Sean Meloy was a reviewer, interviewer and DJ here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Iowa , USA. By day he is a straight laced, buttoned up, number crunching accountant; armed with his portable calculator. All other times he is a hard rocking Metal head! He spent many hours listening to records and 8-tracks with his father. Classic bands such as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton just to name a few. His father bought him his first record, Kiss Alive II, at age 6. By the time he reached his teens he was discovering all the Classic Metal of the 1980’s; Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, etc. He became a huge fan of the Thrash Metal of the time as well; Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, and Overkill. During the 1990’s he experimented with the Grunge and Hard Rock. However, by the time the millennium came he found himself going back to his roots and rebuilt the music collection he started in his teens.

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