Arist:Moongates Guardian
Release date:02/01/2019
Label:More Hate Productions

The Last Ship

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  • 1.
    The Sea with Star-Mirror (Prologue)02:54
  • 2.
    When the Moon Was New05:25
  • 3.
    The Last Ship (Part I)07:30
  • 4.
    The Last Ship (Part II)06:04
  • 5.
    On the Southern Spurs03:55
  • 6.
    The Sea-Bell or Frodos Dreme (Part I)04:52
  • 7.
    The Sea-Bell or Frodos Dreme (Part II)05:52
  • 8.
    The Shadows Where the Mewlips Dwell06:50

The Review

Although the Russian duet called Moongates Guardian exist since 2013 and has already released nine full length albums and many single, split and EP releases, i just got to know them with their eighth album called “The Last Ship”. It was released in the 1st of January of 2019 in digital and CD format by More Hate Productions and it contains eight tracks which last for about forty-four minutes. By listening to their music, someone could say that Moongates Guardian is a Summoning – clone band, doing exactly the same thing. Meaning, epic and atmospheric music with heavy use of keyboards and lyrics the poems of J. R. R. Tolkien. I can’t disagree with that opinion as the band presents indeed a lot of similarities with the aforementioned band. That being said, we should distinguish the bands that are just coping another band’s work with no artistic or music value, from those which embrace their influences, accept them and are trying to go a step further or just create something interesting and entertaining.

In my opinion, Moongates Guardian falls under the second category. They are showing us their Summoning influences proudly and they create music that will design and present a very vivid, intense and interesting narrative into the imaginary world of Tolkien. The keyboard is the most important instrument here, as it sets the scenery and creates the atmosphere. The impressive fact of the keyboard lines is that they can animate and deliver the feelings and the thoughts of the protagonists and make the narrative vivid. The guitars are here, playing a supporting role most of the times, while there are some darker parts which take the lead. The folklore feeling is an indispensable element of the music which makes the images and the scenery more accurate and vivid. The tracks are not that long, they last from four to eight minutes, the speed of the songs is ranged between slow and medium, there are not so many changes during their development as the band wants to build a very epic and at the same time majestic atmosphere. That may sometimes give a mediocre result as in some parts the songs become quite repetitive and tedious. However, in general, the structure and the development of the story is good.

Regarding the performance of the band, each one of its members is trying his best and present a very good result. The vocals are very versatile Black Metal vocals, they follow the feeling of the narrative so they become harsher in the parts where they describe the scenery and the development of the story, while in the dialog or in the parts that they want to give a more dark or vicious tone they become deeper and more theatrical. The instrumentalist is a very talented artist. The keyboards have very beautiful lines and are played accurately, making the images and the story come to life. The guitars are supporting the keyboards very nicely and along with the bass they are giving depth to the music and variety to the feelings. I don’t know if the drums are real or by a drum machine, but they sound real. They have basic, supporting lines and they are stable and accurate. The lyrics are contained in the CD and they are written in English. As it is stated, they are the original poems written by Tolkien.

As a fan of the music and aesthetics of Summoning, I have to admit that at first I was quite skeptical about Moongates Guardian. The similarities with the aforementioned band are more than obvious. However, if you give them the time and focus to understand them, you will find that they have merged their personality with their influences, producing a result that is not just a Summoning – clone. I can say that i enjoyed it and i think that all Summoning fans and the fans of atmospheric, majestic, epic Black Metal you will really appreciate this album.