October 28, 2019 Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper – At The Gates (Album Review)
The classic New Wave of British Heavy Metal, aka NWOBHM, has had its ups and downs in popularity since the late ’70s, but as they say, good things come to those who wait. That in mind, for anyone who follows the off and on again band UK Grim Reaper, a pleasant surprise awaits because lead man Steve Grimmet is back with a brand new album, entitled At The Gates.
Due out on Friday, November 1st, 2019 via Dissonance Productions in the North American market, it marks the band’s follow-up to 2016’s Walking In The Shadows which was their first since all the way back in 1987 when they released Rock You to Hell. Of course, the band technically features no original members at this point, but trusty, consistent Lead Vocalist/Songwriter Steve Grimmett has been involved with the band since 1982. Together with Ian Nash on guitars, Mart Trail on bass, and Paul ‘Needles’ White on drums, they collaborate for morbidly happy results.
Now, for a band called Grim Reaper who are just putting out an album titled At The Gates as their fifth studio album in forty years, they sure do shed light on a dark time. Coming at you with eleven new songs, beginning with the title track, they get the basic point across that it’s time to jump into the afterlife ready to rock. This is before “Venom” leads into anthem based riffing surging into a poisoning vibe never to return to earth. Then it branches out, arguably one of the stronger songs here in terms of out of the box thinking and complexity is “What Lies Beneath” which exudes confidence within not such a happy subject matter. Yet that in mind, it somehow holds an attractive value to the listener.
These points raised, At The Gates really proves its worth with the vocals and guitars work. In fact, for not being a founding member, Nash really finds a great path on these songs including the midway through jams such “The Hand That Rocks” and “Rush.” Still, it seems the aforementioned “What Lies Beneath” has the best wild guitar enhancement of them all. Rounding out the energetic Party Metal needed,”Only When I Sleep” has its moments of gratitude before the album’s climax with “Break Neck Speed,” a track which actually finds its way into an average paced flight while managing to capture enough interest to live up to its title. Ending the trip to the afterlife, “Shadow In The Dark” exemplifies some of Grimmett’s best signature vocal work to date.
For those who have given up on an era due to sudden lack of popularity sometimes there is a new path that will lead you into your own light. In the case of Grim Reaper, they really brought that old school sound into a modern times without reinventing the wheel, and it works! For this reason, and sheer determination to continue making quality music, Cryptic Rock gives At The Gates 4 out of 5 stars.