If Armageddon is anything like the new SACRED GATE album, it would be something to count down the days to with excitement! The already solid songwriting known from this German traditional heavy metal band's two previous albums has developed even more as they have further consolidated their own style, which often brings to mind '80s US power metal, gives a few nods to NWOBHM, but also verges on thrash in some chunky riffs. The addition of a new singer with dynamic, melodic and full of passion vocals has facilitated it and helped the band reach their artistic maturity. It's hard not to appreciate the intricate arrangements, catchy choruses, flowing leads with beautiful, epic melodies and the robust rhythm section, especially when the powerful production helps them shine. A well thought out and musically intoxicating album, which should find its place in the collections of all metalheads who love bands such as SAXON, ICED EARTH, IRON MAIDEN, ASKA, BLAZE, DESTILLERY, THUNDERBOLT, METAL LAW, METAL INQUISITOR, early ARTCH or BLITZKRIEG!
SACRED GATE is a traditional heavy metal band from Mönchengladbach, West Germany, formed by Nicko Nikolaidis (guitars), Jim Over (vocals), both of Greek origin, and Holger Zimmermann (drums) in March 2008, but the musicians were not newcomers. They had been previously playing together in MADE OF IRON (formed in 1999), which initially was a cover band of IRON MAIDEN, but then started writing original material.
Still as MADE OF IRON they released the first self-titled demo in December 2002 and the second demo "King of All Kings" in March 2003. In October 2003 Anger of Metal Records released their 7'' EP "Made of Iron" which included the songs "Made of Iron" and "Fight for the Cross... Die for Jerusalem", that are still included in the SACRED GATE live sets. The first and only, again self-titled, full-length album of MADE OF IRON was released in December 2004 by the Greek label Sonic Age Records.
Three years after the split of MADE OF IRON, the band members (except for the bass player) decided to have a fresh start, under the name of SACRED GATE. In October 2008 Peter Beckers joined, responding to an internet announcement of Nicko that the band was searching for a bass player. Christian Wolf joined the band in April 2010 and replaced Holger Zimmermann on the drums.
SACRED GATE headlined several local shows in Germany, including a mini festival Metal Night Neuss.
On 18th of November 2010 the band entered the Metallurgy Studio in Mönchengladbach and recorded 9 songs for their debut CD. However first, on 24th of September 2011, the band released their self-produced EP "Creators of the Downfall" that received very good critics and reviews from all over the world. The EP contained 3 studio songs (which would later be found on the band's first full-length) plus 3 live cuts.
Meanwhile SACRED GATE caught the interest of Metal on Metal Records, that upon listening to the full album, titled "When Eternity Ends", offered the band a deal to release it in April 2012.
A few weeks before the album release date SACRED GATE recruited the second guitarist, Rainer Schaffranietz (who played in a traditional heavy metal band METAL SWORD in the early '80s). He played three shows with SACRED GATE, but in the end the band decided to part ways with him.
"When Eternity Ends" was released on April 27th and is a perfect album for all those who love their metal the way it was back in the day: classic and without experimentations. Jim's charismatic vocals, dynamic, melodic and full of passion, Nicko's extravagant guitar work with fantastic solos, mighty riffs and double lead harmonies, Peter's remarkable bass lines and Christian's solid power drumming are the trademark of SACRED GATE. The catchy choruses, the impressive song structures and the intelligent lyrics prove the musical ability and potential of the band. The album received many great reviews and was most often compared to the works of IRON MAIDEN (especially circa "Seventh Son...") and to ICED EARTH.
At the end of 2012 SACRED GATE recruited Björn Walde as the second guitar player. Before the official announcement was made in January 2013, Björn had played two concerts and with this battle test proven to be a the right and fitting choice. More shows were soon scheduled - the band was confirmed for 3 German festivals in 2013: Rage Against Racism in May, AUE Open Air in July and Metallergrillen in August.
In the meantime, the work on the follow-up to "When Eternity Ends" continued. Many songs had been written much earlier, so the recording process of the second album started quite soon after the debut was out: in October 2012 and finalized in just one month.
The sophomore album, entitled "Tides of War", released on April 19th 2013 through Metal on Metal Records, is a concept album about the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. Not a surprising choice of subject, considering that 2 founding members (vocalist Jim and guitarist Nicko) have Greek origins. The new album is undoubtedly a more mature, more epic and more confident effort showing the band crystallizing their own style, and moving away a few steps from their main influence, IRON MAIDEN. The tale about the Spartans' and their allies' heroic fight for freedom is told in a really compelling way, not only through words, but also through music, with strong, melodic but rough vocals, outstanding guitar work and rock solid rhythm section.
After the release of "Tides of War", the band played many club gigs (two of them supporting MYSTIC PROPHECY and WIZARD) and festivals, including Rage Against Racism in May 2013 and A Chance for Metal in May 2014, and at the same time started writing new material.
In October 2014, vocalist Jim Over left the band. In May 2015, after an intense six months search, a Dutch singer Ron Slaets was introduced as the new vocalist and the first show with Ron was played on September 25th 2015. The band also played their first gig in Holland.
In February 2016, SACRED GATE entered the studio to record their third album titled "Countdown to Armageddon". Unfortunately, due to personal differences they split up in April. Nevertheless, the band and Metal on Metal Records decided to release the recorded album.
Traditional Heavy Metal
Germany (Mönchengladbach), 2008
Ron Slaets (voclas)
Nicko Nikolaidis (guitars)
Björn Walde (guitars)
Peter Beckers (bass)
Christian Wolf (drums)
Germany-based SACRED GATE release a new album, only a year after their debut came out. Stronger and more confident than before, they forge traditional heavy metal with US power metal elements. Outstanding guitar work, strong, melodic but rough vocals and a tight rhythm section are highlighted by clear but not too modern production. While IRON MAIDEN can be still quoted as their biggest influence, they have moved away from it a few steps, crystallizing their personal recognizable style. "Tides of War" is a concept album about the Spartans' and their allies' heroic fight for freedom against Persians at the pass of Thermopylae. A tale told in such a convincing way, not only through words, but also through music, that it should awaken the warrior spirit in every true metalhead, regardless the nationality. An epic work in every respect. Fans of ICED EARTH, ASKA, BLAZE, BLITZKRIEG, SAXON, DESTILLERY, THUNDERBOLT and METAL LAW - check it out!
From the Metal capital of the world, Germany, comes a new traditional heavy metal band, SACRED GATE. The founding members, vocalist and guitarist of the band, started mastering their craft in MADE OF IRON, which started out as an IRON MAIDEN tribute band - and the British legends still have the biggest influence on their music. Years later they serve a perfect, timeless classic metal album, rooted in the NWOBHM tradition and flavoured with '80s US power metal. Impressive song structures, mighty riffs, galloping guitar harmonies and solos, remarkable bass lines, solid power drumming, anthemic choruses, charismatic, slightly rough but clean vocals and a great feel for melody. Nothing new? So what, if it's played with real conviction, skills and class! Fans of MAIDEN, ASKA, BLAZE, BLITZKRIEG, SAXON, DESTILLERY, THUNDERBOLT and METAL LAW - don't miss this album!
• "Creators of the Downfall" (2011)
• "When Eternity Ends" (2012)
Full-length, Metal On Metal Records
• "Tides of War" (2013)
Full-length, Metal On Metal Records
• "Countdown to Armageddon" (2016)
Full-length, Metal On Metal Records