Grand Rapids, Mich.
Overwhelming the senses with sheer volume, Blackgate can no longer be contained. Their six-song debut EP delivers hit after hit, like metal icons Iron Maiden or Dragonforce, churning through full-octane shredders while injecting just enough of their own hard-earned West Michigan character. Guitarists Matt Cremeans and Roger Winright play like dueling Guitar Hero champions; soaring through solos on songs like the majestic, seven-minute goliath “Last Son,” or the lights-out, fire-breather “I Am The Night.” Meanwhile, frontman David Cuffman belts out with just the right amount of bravado, never infringing on his band mates’ fret-flying frenzies, or diminishing drummer Ryan Lunsford and bassist Zach Flora’s perpetually-propulsive rhythms. – Eric Mitts