Written by: PP on 16/01/2013 19:39:26

The term melodic hardcore gets thrown around a lot these days (this scribe included), but for a textbook definition of the soundscape, look no further than the Michigan based Gateways. They've really boiled the sound down to its essence, into a fast-paced, aggressive expression which overloads its raw hardcore base with uplifting melody. And it sounds bloody awesome. "Departures" demonstrates the kind of strength for a debut album that'll propel a band to immediate success within the scene at large once it's officially released in late February. It does this by having a refreshing soundscape that sounds oddly familiar - like a coming home of sorts after many years of absence - even though you can't quite place where you've heard it before.

Hundredth, Comeback Kid, Life In Your Way, Counterparts, It Prevails. These are all bands that may have been an inspiration for Gateways prior to this album, thanks to a positively charged, energetic soundscape that surrounds the record. The amount of melody the band injects into their otherwise hardcore-rooted guitars is staggering, and when you combine a great screamer with decipherable vocals in the vein of the guy from Hundredth, we've got ourselves a winner. Because despite a distinct overload of melody and tempo (10 tracks race by in just 22 minutes), the band balance just on the right side of the fence of becoming too poppy. That's why the songs are about as ridiculously catchy as early A Day To Remember material (back when they were heavier), but carry way more depth and longevity because they reference the melodic hardcore heavyweights like The Ghost Inside and Misery Signals at the same time.

My only grudge with "Departures" is the completely unnecessary inclusion of post-hardcore style clean vocals. Their delivery is far too emo in comparison to the rest of the gritty sound, and so they feel a little weird and misplaced every time they arrive. I think having cleans on this type of sound is key for contrast and versatility, but they need to consider using standard cleans instead of the whiny high pitch croons in the future, if for no other reason than to separate themselves from the saturated post-hardcore crowd once and for good.

But they are used sparingly, and most songs rely on the charismatic scream and the way it is juxtaposed over exceptionally melodic riffs, which are often played at breakneck speeds. Here's where the Comeback Kid influence comes in, although Gateways are much more poppy and melodic than those guys even on their most melodic tracks. And that energy is part of what makes Gateways such an enjoyable listen: their sound is urgent enough to be convincing, while integrating more melody than most people thought was possible for melodic hardcore.


Download: Breaking Bricks, Retaliation
For the fans of: Life In Your Way, Hundredth, It Prevails, Counterparts
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.02.2013
Hotfoot Records

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