'Guardian At The Gate'
(Pure Steel Records)
This, the third album of the US-Based band Arctic Flame, hardly is a surprising musical affair, consisting mostly of mid-tempo songs, along with random few speedier ones. Musically the main influences appear to be Iron Maiden and early Jag Panzer, that's to say the band has manage to cross the British and US school in their sound. This stuff isn't over the top heavy by any stretch of the imagination, which has been also reflected by the rather 'hard rock' production job, that's far removed from the usual bombastic one most power metal sports. What sets Arctic Flame apart from their peers is the somewhat epic feeling oozing from the tunes, as well as the progressive elements interwoven in some of the songs ('The Eternal', for instance), the latter resulting in fairly sophisticated song structures with various tempo changes and elegant combinations of aggressive and milder, lyrical themes. The vocals, while not exceptional, are quite effective overall, giving away slight resemblances to those of Fish, once again justifying the term 'prog' in regards to this here band. 'Guardian At The Gate' makes for a nice listening, should be a good one when one is driving the car around, given the fact it's neither too aggressive nor overly boring. After some 'pros' and 'cons' the final score comes to this: