Gateways - Departures (2013)

For some people, music is the only thing constant in their life. When they're feeling down, they'll sometimes turn to sad acoustic songs to just let it all out, or as I prefer, positive hardcore to help me out of a rut. In the hardcore scene, there are a few bands that promote positivity and instill hope in their listeners. One of the up-and-coming positive hardcore bands that I've recently come across is Gateways. Gateways formed nearly two years ago, and about three months ago, the Michigan-based five-piece was signed by Hotfoot Records. Their debut full-length album, Departures, is set to release in February of 2013.

Gateways promotes positivity throughout their 22-minute debut entitled Departures and there are several notable lyrics, almost too many to count. A few of my personal favourites are "I won't ever lose sight of who I am/Straight ahead, I will see through" ("From My Side") and "I won't let this tear me apart" ("Retaliation"). These lyrics, along with most of the others on the album, are delivered in a passionate tone by the vocalist, and at times, it sounds like a combination of Hundredth and Defeater. In addition to the passionate screams, there is a nice mix of cleans. The cleans have a huge post-hardcore vibe to them and they don't sound exactly as I would have expected them to, but they fit very well.

Instrumentally, Gateways brings to the table a fast-paced and hard-hitting melodic hardcore sound that can be compared to bands like Saints Never Surrender and It Prevails. Sometimes, they slow it down (during most choruses, the instrumental aptly titled "Instrumental", and the album closer titled "Departures"), but overall, Departures is an onslaught of pounding drums and fast-paced strumming. Nearly every track has at least one "wow" moment provided by the guitarists, the drumming is very solid throughout, and the bass is actually audible - a rarity for most bands.

Departures is impressive from start to finish which makes it hard to pick favourites, but in my opinion, there are two tracks that stand out a bit more than the others: "Insights" and the previously mentioned "From My Side". "Insights" is probably the most diverse song on the entire release and it also contains several catchy lyrics and spectacular leads. Despite clocking in at a mere 1:36, "From My Side" is my personal favourite on every end of the spectrum. As previously mentioned, the lyrics and vocals are very powerful. The strongest part of "From My Side", though, is the guitar riffs and melodies.

With the release of Departures, Gateways is sure to pick up a lot of new fans that enjoy hardcore and metalcore. It's a very short album, but it's packed full of excellent songs with a meaning.

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By Steven Pongrac ~ Me Gusta Reviews