GATEKEEPER: ‘East Of Sun’ CD And LP First Pressings Sold-Out; Western Canada Dates On The Horizon

Apparently, GATEKEEPER’s “East Of Sun” debut album — released in April via Cruz Del Sur Music — has been exactly what the classic/power metal scene has been looking for. The Canadians, led by founding member/guitarist Geoff Blackwell and rounded out by vocalist Jean-Pierre, lead guitarist Kenny Kroecher, bassist David Messier and drummer Tommy Tro, have been hailed by Heavy Blog Is Heavy as “The real deal when it comes to the upfront nature of heavy metal,” while Metal Temple says “This is a dynamic album that follows the fervent spirit of heavy metal to the razor’s edge.” The metal buying public has responded in kind — the first CD and LP pressings of “East Of Sun” have already sold out.

As Blackwell explains, 2018 has been a year of huge growth for GATEKEEPER, including many “firsts” for the band—first full-length album, first music video, first appearance in a print magazine and first performance in Europe. “It’s been a wild ride indeed,” he explains. “We’ve had a very heart-warming reception to the record. Lots of great feedback and it’s interesting to see which songs stick out to people the most. The record took a lot of time and a lot of work and stress to finish. We sometimes talk about things we would change about it or elements that we weren’t entirely satisfied with, so seeing all the positive reactions makes it feel worthwhile and helps us see the bigger picture.”

For a band that was formed in 2009 as a way for Blackwell to teach himself how to play guitar, GATEKEEPER’s fast start out of the gate has taken the guitarist by surprise: “On a practical level, I expected that the album would generally be well-received, but I was worried that it might get lost in the shuffle of new music that is constantly coming out. In any case, I did not expect to sell about 120 albums through our pre-order campaign and I didn’t expect the record to sell out in less than a month. And the news that the CD edition is close to being sold out was a huge surprise. If you told me that this was going to happen five years ago then I might not have believed you.”

One of the highlights

 

of 2018 thus far for GATEKEEPER was their May appearance at Germany’s legendary Keep It True festival. Playing alongside the likes of FLOTSAM & JETSAM, CEREBUS, RAVEN, SARACEN and IRONFLAME, GATEKEEPER was quickly introduced to the glory and majesty of the European festival scene. Not surprisingly, the band immediately connected with the always-demanding Keep It True faithful.

“We spent a grand total of three days in Germany, which the average North American person considers insane,” notes Blackwell. “The festival was excellent. I got to meet a lot of ‘Facebook pen pals,’ some of whom have been following the band since our first demo. We also made some great contacts for future trips and I ate the best schnitzel I’ve ever tasted. Oh yeah, our set was pretty good too! People seemed extremely enthusiastic and I was very happy with the response. We can’t wait to return!”

Up next for GATEKEEPER is a series of live dates that will take the band throughout Western Canada, with the band hitting up new and old territories along the way. Comments Blackwell: “We’re really excited toplay with our friends in RIOT CITY and ROAD RASH this summer, and, we’ll be returning to Prince George and our hometown of Edmonton for some more action, plus our first-ever appearance in Abbotsford, which is a city we’ve been trying to book for years now. Canada is full of small, remote towns and playing them can be tricky to book and promote, but they are often full of people who love rock music and they deserve a chance to see live bands as much as anyone else.”

Furthermore, Blackwell promises a “very special surprise” to be announced closer to the end of the year, along with a possible return to Europe in 2019. And, perhaps best of all, it appears some new material is in the works: “We are writing tunes for the second album, plus all manner of fresh content. I’m currently working on a video series of guitar lessons aired through our social media networks so that anyone can learn how to play our songs and people can get more detailed insight into my songwriting process.”

GATEKEEPER upcoming live dates:

 

July 14 – Armstrong Metal Fest – Armstrong, British Columbia

August 04 – Shred The Loops Festival – Kamloops, British Columbia
August 17 – Pub 340 – Vancouver, British Columbia

August 31 – TBA – Abbotsford, British Columbia
September 01 – The Legion – Prince George, British Columbia
September 02 – The Industry House – Edmonton, Alberta

GATEKEEPER Embarks On ‘East Of Sun’ Live Assault, Including First-Ever ‘Keep It True’ Festival Appearance

The anticipation for GATEKEEPER’s first full-length album “East Of Sun” grows by the day, with pre-orders going fast and some limited edition vinyl prints already sold-out. Such a response leads perfectly into the band’s planned live show activities in support of the album, which started earlier this year and will run through the summer, including what should be a triumphant debut at Germany’s Keep It True Festival on April 27, which also is the same day in which “East Of Sun” will be released via Cruz Del Sur Music. 


The anticipation for GATEKEEPER’s first full-length album “East Of Sun” grows by the day, with pre-orders going fast and some limited edition vinyl prints already sold-out. Such a response leads perfectly into the band’s planned live show activities in support of the album, which started earlier this year and will run through the summer, including what should be a triumphant debut at Germany’s Keep It True Festival on April 27, which also is the same day in which “East Of Sun” will be released via Cruz Del Sur Music.

Comments guitarist/founding member Geoff Blackwell: “Two of our members have played Keep It True in the past, but for me, this will be new territory and I’m extremely excited, needless to say. The Keep It True crowd is legendary in our niche so it’s hard not to have big expectations for the weekend. We want to get people moving, get them talking and we want to meet as many cool people as possible and make a bunch of new friends and fond memories. It’s gonna be great!

“We are going to bring our A-game to that stage, just like we do every night,” he continues. “GATEKEEPER puts on a high-energy performance and the past two years of regular gigging have turned the band into a tightly wound, well-oiled heavy metal machine.”

GATEKEEPER should be heading into Keep It True and additional live shows with plenty of momentum based on the early response to “East Of Sun”. The album, adorned with artwork from renowned British artist Duncan Storr (DARK FOREST, SKYCLAD), is being recognized as the veritable epic metal statement that it is, made all the more special considering GATEKEEPER was started as nothing more than a simple home studio project by Blackwell.

“It’s been a pleasant surprise to have this much early buzz and positive support,” he says. “The first day of pre-orders left us completely stunned and I’m very happy with the response to our music video for ‘Blade Of Cimmeria’. I can’t wait to reveal the other cool things we’ve got in store for everyone. We still have a few weeks before the album is out and we are almost completely sold out of pre-order LPs, so I’d suggest folks snap those up really quick!”

 

GATEKEEPER upcoming live shows:

 

April 20 – Char’s Landing – Port Alberni, British Columbia

April 21 – Logan’s Pub – Victoria, British Columbia

April 27 – Keep It True Festival – Germany

May 12 – Pat’s Pub – Vancouver, British Columbia

June 9 – Decimate Metalfest – Calgary, Alberta

June 10 – The Wolf – Maple Ridge, British Columbia

June 30 – Munnin’s Post – Kelowna, British Columbia

July 14 – Armstrong Metal Fest – Armstrong, British Columbia

August 04 – Shred The Loops Festival – Kamloops, British Columbia

Legendary Artist Duncan Storr Illuminates GATEKEEPER’s ‘East Of Sun’ Album Cover

Soon, the metal world will get to absorb the sounds of GATEKEEPER’s first full-length album, “East Of Sun”, an epic metal tour-de-force that will see the light of day this April via Cruz Del Sur Music.

Soon, the metal world will get to absorb the sounds of GATEKEEPER’s first full-length album, “East Of Sun”, an epic metal tour-de-force that will see the light of day this April via Cruz Del Sur Music.

Rewind back to the early months of 2017, though, and it was legendary British artist Duncan Storr (DARK FOREST, EDGE OF SANITY, RAGE, SKYCLAD) who became one of the first people to hear the demos that would ultimately become “East Of Sun”. Well before they were signed to Cruz Del Sur, GATEKEEPER leader Geoff Blackwell mustered up the courage to email Storr a demo to see if he’d be willing to work on the project. Luckily for Blackwell and co., Storr took an immediate liking to GATEKEEPER and got down to business.

 

“I liked the demo and asked to hear a few more songs if they had more,” says Storr. “Geoff sent me over another two demos to listen to so I could get a good feel for their sound. The titles of the tracks ‘Warrior Without Fear’, ‘Oncoming Ice’, and ‘East Of Sun West of Moon’, sparked something and I got a few ideas from listening to the tracks.”

Storr proceed to reach into his vault and selected an unfinished piece he thought would be suit GATEKEEPER. “I sent Geoff a few of these images and relayed how I would like to incorporate some of the song ideas and embellish the atmosphere in the painting,” he says. “He got back to me after showing the rest of the band. The band have been great to work with and have kept me informed and added more demos for me to work with as I paint. I find this always helps.”

“We had a short list of people that we wanted to work with on this album and Duncan Storr was on it,” adds Blackwell. “He is a real gentleman and a master behind the paintbrush. The piece he showed us instantly clicked with our vision for the record and in a way, it drove us to work even harder on the music in order to match the quality of his art. GATEKEEPER would like to thank Duncan for his hard work, dedication to his craft and for being a loyal fan of rock and roll.”