A one man death/doom project from Belgium you say? Well then, colour me intrigued. ‘Gateway’ is the debut full length from Robin Van Oyen, and it is forty odd minutes of punishing dirges, dragging murky influences from the greats like Winter or Evoken.
After a short intro, we are hit by the rumbling behemoth of ‘Vox Occultus’, where a grinding guitar tone is met with a guttural belch from Satan’s darkest pits. Gateway has decided that slow and steady doesn’t win the race but it leaves plenty of bodies left in its wake. Check out that earth cracking riff at the start of ‘Khalaam’ to see exactly what I mean or the opening to ‘Impaled.’ This is torturously slow and horribly dense, with an inhuman vocal performance.
‘Impaled’ combines the guttural density of brutal death metal with the slow motion devastation of doom, coating everything in a sludgy atmosphere. Any respite sought from the sheer weight of this album is never to be found. Each song is an exercise in utter bleakness and an exploration of heaviness. Even the almost catchy ‘Vile Temptress’ descends into hellish rumbling madness.
‘Gateway’ is the sound of the Earth’s crust cracking under the weight of humanity’s filth and decaying away, letting us all fall into the void. Winter would be proud that there are bands like Gateway to carry on their tectonic legacy. ‘Gateway’ is this year’s apocalyptic collapse album; it sounds like heavy riffs and planet smashing to me!