Cans - Beyond the Gates (Noise) 2004
1. "Fields Of Yesterday"
Being a big Hammerfall fan, it was only natural that I would like this solo output from Hammerfall's Joachim Cans. Can's band is created of several other well known musicians including Mat Sinner (Primal Fear/Sinner - Bass), Mark Zonder (Fates Warning/Warlord - Drums), Stefan Elmgren (Hammerfall - Guitar) and Metal Mike Chlasciak (Halford - Guitar). Musically, "Beyond the Gates" doesn't stray that far from what you might expect from Hammerfall, but nothing here sounds exactly like them either. Actually, if I may commit a bit of metal blasphemy here, I think that "Beyond the Gates" might even surprass the past couple Hammerfall releases. This CD is heavier and darker than Joacim's main band and is chock full of heavy riffs, great guitar solos, and melodic songs. Perhaps my favorite is the surprisingly heavy "Back to Hell". As well, "Soul Collector" is probably the heaviest thing I have heard Joachim sing on since Dragon Lies Bleeding". Them more melodic numbers like the title track, co-written by David T. Chastain, and "Red Light" are a bit closer to the more recent Hammerfall style. Still there is a subtle difference even in these songs. "The Key" is a standout track with it's heavy, plodding riffs, sing-along chorus and what sounds like female backing vocals. Another standout cut is the melodic "Forever Ends" that was co-written by Annihilator's Jeff Waters. Surprisingly this song isn't an ultra heavy thrasher, but rather a ballad and a solid one at that. All in all, however, "Beyond the Gates" is just a good, solid, straight forward heavy metal platter.