Thursday, July 15, 2010

GarageBand Profile Mini-Series: Gates of Winter

It's time, everyone, as our GarageBand Profile Mini-Series draws to a close! It's been a busy, but fun couple of weeks, as I've archived the profiles of the local metal/hard rock performers on, and with five of the profiles complete, we're down to the final band, and arguably, the biggest of them all! So let's kick off the final entry in the mini-series, this is a long one but a good one! (UPDATED: December 27th, 2011)
Gates of Winter

Genre: Metal (Progressive Death Metal)
Hometown: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

Bio: 2010 marked a great shift in the band's direction. With all of our members focusing on education and finances, writing material for a second album has become a slow but steady effort. Stylistically, Gates of Winter will be moving to faster and heavier territory, abandoning the majority of its past canon. Vocalist/guitarist Lee Maines is currently working on our first demo material for this new project.

Lee Maines (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar)
Bryan Belleau (Lead Guitar)
Steve Furgiuele (Bass/Backing Vocals)
Brian Holmes (Keyboards)

(At the time of GarageBand's closure, Brian Holmes was still the band's keyboardist, so he's still listed above despite leaving the band in November 2011. Also, Gates of Winter had no drummer when GarageBand closed, and were using programmed drums on their new recordings. Jon Morrison wasn't confirmed as their new drummer for another four months, and ex-drummers James Chiverelli, Kevin Overton, Jonathan Harvey, and David Gold weren't credited as members, having already left the band by that point.)

Artist URL:
Gates of Winter on MySpace
Gates of Winter on iLike
Gates of Winter on Facebook
Gates of Winter on YouTube
Gates of Winter on Reverbnation
Gates of Winter's official forum

Influenced By: Behemoth, Ihsahn, Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad, Iron Maiden

Songs (With Top Awards):

From Nothingness (Ranked #80 of 425 in Metal on May 31, 2008; Awarded "Track of the Day" in Metal on May 15, 2008)
Burning Kingdom I: A Dark Affliction (Ranked #86 of 411 in Metal on January 12, 2008; Awarded "Track of the Day" in Metal on January 6, 2008)
From The Flesh (Ranked #91 of 411 in Metal on January 12, 2008; Awarded "Track of the Day" in Metal on January 3, 2008)
Omega (Ranked #94 of 427 in Metal on June 1, 2008; Awarded "Track of the Day" in Metal on February 8, 2008)
Burning Kingdom II: Heavenly Insurgence (Ranked #99 of 462 in Metal on March 26, 2008; Awarded "Track of the Day" in Metal on March 6, 2008)
Winter Flight (Ranked #123 of 432 in Metal on January 31, 2008; Awarded "Most Original" in Metal for the week of February 4, 2008)
Burning Kingdom III: Lux Aeterna (Ranked #86 of 226 in Instrumental Rock on April 18, 2008; Awarded "Track of the Day" in Instrumental Rock on March 6, 2008)
Life Force Rapture (Ranked #133 of 459 in Metal on February 26, 2008; Awarded "Track of the Day" in Metal on March 5, 2008)
The Wildwood Pariah (Ranked #352 of 864 in Acoustic on June 10, 2008; Awarded "Most Original" in Acoustic for the week of March 24, 2008)
Gates of Winter (Not submitted for rankings or awards)

Other Notes: Of the six local metal/hard rock acts on GarageBand, Gates of Winter were the only ones with a Gold Account, allowing them extra site privileges. This included the ability to sell merchandise, including band t-shirts, thongs, toques, buttons, and stickers, but the purchasing links died when their original website expired. A page was also featured where you could buy "Lux Aeterna" through CDBaby, click here to do so. If you're interested in purchasing the album, I recommend doing so by mp3 in case there's no physical copies left in stock, though check in case there is. The CD purchasing page on GarageBand featured this caption about "Lux Aeterna":
"Lux Aeterna" is an album which takes orchestral inspiration from Nightwish and Kamelot while providing the melodic and heavy elements of Strapping Young Lad, Dream Theater, and Opeth. In December of 2007, the band made a collective decision to leak their entire album, making front page news on metal webzines worldwide. The move prompted an internet flurry, which furthermore evolved into a cult following. Through it's sonic diversity, "Lux Aeterna" has appealed to a broad audience, prompting strong internet sales, thus making Gates of Winter one of Canada's leading symphonic melodic metal groups.
SMS Analysis: Gates of Winter were the first local headlining band I ever saw, way back in 2005, and I've been a huge fan ever since! No matter which drummer was with them, they always impressed as both a metal band and as a collective of very talented musicians that have grown in huge ways since their original E.P.! Sadly, they haven't played together on stage since late 2008, going on a year long hiatus before resuming work on their new album, but I'm sure we remember them fondly! Gates of Winter have underwent a very noticeable evolution since their 2003 debut, and have seen their musical focus shift from covers to symphonic metal to progressive death metal, getting heavier & faster all the way through! I won't individually comment on their songs here (read my reviews of both of their CDs at the links on the left), but the whole band show amazing talent that is very welcome locally! From the amazing bass to the great symphonic keyboard playing to the ever-improving vocals, I have little to complain about with Gates of Winter, who remain one of my favourite local bands! Hopefully you guys were around during their local heyday, cause they brought their A-game at each show! Here's hoping that their new album is as great as the first demos suggest, and that they hit the stage again down the road!

Videos: There are plenty of videos of Gates of Winter online, notably on YouTube, where you can find full songs, concert performances, and much more! You can also find videos of Gates of Winter members in other local bands, most notably Woods of Ypres. Check out the YouTube channels of Gates of Winter, Lee Maines, Bryan Belleau, former drummer David Gold, and The Sault Metal Scene for most of the Gates of Winter YouTube videos. Though there are plenty of Gates of Winter videos, I have uploaded three more to YouTube to ensure that the whole "Lux Aeterna" album is represented there. Remember, "Lux Aeterna" is OUT OF PRINT, the album is free online at various sites, and the band plan to abandon most of their past material anyway. Even still, NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED!! So here's the three Gates of Winter studio songs now on YouTube for the first time: "Life Force Rapture", "Burning Kingdom Part I: A Dark Affliction", and their self-titled song!

And so ends our GarageBand Profile Mini-Series, and concurrently, so ends as well. Today, the popular music site ended after over a decade of sharing independent music to the world, and though their focus shifts to iLike and MySpace, I'm sure lots of you guys will remember fondly! I'll miss it, I loved the site, and there was loads of great music there from all over the world, and I'm glad that local bands made use of it often as well! Though this mini-series made the SMS unusually busy over the last couple of weeks, I'm glad to have done it, cause I wasn't gonna let these bands and their songs disappear like they were nothing! R.I.P. GarageBand, and if you wanna check out the local metal band profiles from there in the future, the SMS is the place to be!

That's all for now, stay tuned later tonight for weekend concert previews, including what's going down at the Rotaryfest Second Stage! Also, keep an eye out for reviews of the Frightlight benefit concert AND Garden of Bedlam's headlining performance at Rotaryfest, the newest SMS poll, and more!

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