Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper ‘At The Gates’
Album Review By Adam McCann
Dissonance Productions/Heavy Metal
Steve Grimmett’s Grim Reaper (SGGR) hit the ground running in 2016 with their superb ‘debut’ album ‘Walking In The Shadows’; an album that had the potential to haul the legendary Steve Grimmett back to his rightful position as part of heavy metal royalty. However, disaster struck, and Steve Grimmett was forced to have his leg amputated during a South American tour, an incident that saw Grimmett initially confined to a wheelchair before learning to walk again with a false leg. Fortunately, this did not deter the resilient frontman and this year see’s SGGR return with their second album ‘At The Gates’.
The best news is that with ‘At The Gates’, none of Grimmett’s medical conditions have hampered this album and therefore, ‘At The Gates’ storms forward with all the driving conviction of true heavy metal. Grimmett has lost none of his power with his voice sounding as good now as it sounded in 2016 and although his voice has become worn around the edges since the heyday of the 80’s, that voice is now experienced, flawed, but that is what makes it so lovable with tracks such as ‘Venom’, ‘Line Them Up’ and ‘Only When I Sleep’ having all the appeal of Saxon. However, what is difficult to initially like about ‘At The Gates’ is that the production is very much focused on Grimmett’s vocals with them being at the very forefront of the music. This unfortunately means that most of the instruments are pushed quite far back in the mix and it is difficult to really appreciate the bass or rhythm guitars behind the vocals, lead guitar and snare drum.
Yet, these tracks just grow and grow and before too long, it is easy to find that this album has been on repeat. This means that ‘At The Gates’ is enjoyable, it is fun to listen to, easy to thoroughly immerse yourself in and whilst ‘At The Gates’ falls just below its predecessor, it is still a great album and one that thoroughly deserves to be regularly played by fans of classic, NWOBHM or trad metal.
Rating : 85/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann