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

RAVENSIRE Announce Lineup Changes, New Festival Assaults

Portuguese battle metal outfit RAVENSIRE has announced the addition of guitarist Mário Figueira and drummer Alex Fonseca. The pair replaces Zé RockHard and Francisco Machado, respectively. The band’s most recent album, “The Cycle Never Ends”, was released in 2016 by Italy’s Cruz Del Sur Music.

Comments guitarist Nuno: “After we finished recording our album ‘The Cycle Never Ends’, we started preparing for the shows that would follow. Unfortunately, after a while, started facing some changes in his personal life that prevented him from rehearsing as much as he would’ve liked. So, after a few weeks in a sort of limbo, he finally approached us and told us that he couldn’t continue playing with the degree of commitment needed, so he’d leave the band in order for us to find a replacement as soon as possible. After some searching, we had a few guys willing to step into Zé’s shoes.

“So, we planned a few auditions and there was no question that Mário would be the one taking the battleaxe for future battles! Although Mario played mainly in death metal acts in the last decade (BLEEDING DISPLAY, for example), recently he had been reconnecting to his roots and started playing in a hard rock band called 15 FREAKS. Another fun fact was that way before left the band, he saw a RAVENSIRE concert and enjoyed our sound so much that he got in touch with us! Who knew that one year later he’d be joining the fold?”

Shortly after the departure of Zé, long-time drummer Francisco Machado stepped down from RAVENSIRE, citing personal matters.Honestly speaking, this was an even bigger blow, because F had been one of the main forces in getting RAVENSIRE together,” says Nuno. “Of course, we fully understood his motives and nothing changed in our friendship. This time, though, instead of trying to find a replacement and going through auditions and whatnot, we went straight to MIDNIGHT PRIEST‘s drummer Alex since we knew he was available to commit to another band and we’ve been friends and mutual fans of each other’s bands since the beginning!”

RAVENSIRE’s lineup now consists of:

Rick – Vocals / Bass

Nuno – Guitar

Mário – Guitar

Alex – Drums

With their new lineup in place, RAVENSIRE has begun work on their third full-length album, which they plan on recording during the first half of 2018. The band has also planned some new live assaults:


December 9, 2017: Riddle Of Steel Festival, Marburg, Germany with A SOUND OF THUNDER, HEATHENS OF THE NORTH, ARKHAM WITCH, IRONSWORD, BATTLE RAM
December 22, 2017: Cascais, Portugal with CAPE TORMENT, MIND TAKER and TUMENT
February 16, 2018: Bordeaux, France with SILVER MACHINE
February 17, 2018: Rennes, France with SILVER MACHINE


April 14, 2018: IX Metalmeria Fest, Almeria, Spain

Related links:

ARGUS Premieres ‘You Are The Curse’ Lyric Video; Prepares For European Tour With HIGH SPIRITS

Pittsburgh, PA traditional metal force ARGUS have released the lyric video for “You Are The Curse”, which is taken from their forthcoming “From Fields Of Fire” album. The LP is set for a September 8 release via Cruz Del Sur Music.

Pre-order “From Fields Of Fire” at this location:

Comments vocalist Brian “Butch” Balich: “‘You Are The Curse’ was the first song we wrote for ‘From Fields Of Fire’Dave [Watson, guitar] brought it in and it immediately fit. I knew we had exciting things coming for the album when it came together. It’s classic ARGUS and a good song to introduce ‘From Fields of Fire’ to our friends worldwide. It’s an up-tempo, rhythmically aggressive but melodic song shot through with dark undertones. Lyrically, this song deals with the idea that sometimes we need look no further than ourselves for why things go wrong in our lives…as you sow so shall you reap. It’s been a live mainstay for about a year-and-a-half and one we expect to play often.”


To coincide with the release of “From Fields Of Fire”, ARGUS is embarking on a nine-date European tour with Chicago high-energy rock heroes HIGH SPIRITS. The tour kicks off September 8 in Dornbirn, Austria, culminating with their September 16 appearance at the Storm Crusher festival in Püchersreuth, Germany.


HIGH SPIRITS have been friends of ours for several years and a band we all really dig a lot,” says Balich. “We are very excited that this came together—it’s going to be a great show for the fans of both bands —the energy HIGH SPIRITS and ARGUS put out on stage is very high, and I think we complement and balance each other as well. It truly is a can’t-miss show. We’ll be playing material from the new album, of course, but expect to hear something from every album including a couple songs we haven’t played in a long time. All of us in ARGUS cannot wait to return to Europe. It’s something we look forward to doing every year and this trip is going to be a blast getting to hang out with and watch HIGH SPIRITS every night, too!”

HIGH SPIRITS + ARGUS “Motivatour” European tour schedule:

SEPT 8 Dornbirn, AT,- Schlachthaus
SEP 9 Olte, CH – Coq D’Or
SEP 10 Münster, DE – Sputnikhalle
SEP 11 Marburg, DE – Trauma G-Werk
SEP 12 Oldenburg, DE – MTS Record Store
SEP 13 Hamburg, DE – Bambi Galore
SEP 14 Berlin, DE – Urban Spree
SEP 15 Weimar, DE – Kasseturm
SEP 16 Pückersreuth, DE – Storm Crusher Festival