STAR.GATE – Escaping The Illusion (2024)

STAR.GATE - Escaping The Illusion (2024) - full

We were positively impressed by STAR.GATE previous album featured on this site two years ago. The outfit has been active for over 2 decades and now are releasing their new album “Escaping The Illusion” only available on physical format.
Commanded by songwriter & bass player Kostas Domenikiotis and including into the line up experienced musicians like keyboardist Sakis Bandis (HORIZON’S END) and drummer Stergios Kourou (HORIZON’S END, WARDRUM), STAR.GATE 2024 features a new vocalist in Manos Fatsis doing Lead and Backing Vocals.
And the new singer fits very well STAR.GATE’s blend of ’80s hard rock / neo classical (think Axel Rudi Pell, Yngwie’s glorious era) clean melodic metal, and even some AOR in the vein of Sunstorm.
If the previous STAR.GATE was good, “Escaping The Illusion” is a step further: stronger, complete songcraft, performances and polished production sound.

First of all, “Escaping the Illusion” is STAR.GATE’s most diverse album yet. Domenikiotis uses the neoclassical form as raw material, as a starting point, putting a huge range of additional influences at the forefront. From the lyrical ’70s elements and Pomp Rock references we loved on the previous album, to the straight melodic Metal themes that are often approaching an almost Heavy Metal logic. You even discover some Prog touches here and there on the songs.

Secondly, STAR.GATE now have in their ranks the best singer that has ever participated on the band: Manos Fatsis. Maybe we should write “the most suitable one” to be even clearer. The quality and the color of his voice, the interpretive variety and the performing passion are trademark features for the new album. I would also like to make a very important -at least to me- reference about his balanced and careful approaching to every single part of every song, without exaggerations, without attempts to impress or to add anything pointless.
Fatsis interprets wisely, literally weighing his dynamics in each phrase, reaching the point of dominating the songs and taking them to the very next level.

The rest of the band contribute their utmost to the creation of this excellent album with Anthimos Manti giving us some of his most brilliant solos, Sakis Bandis (HORIZON’S END) telling a great musical tale with his keyboards and Stergios Kourou making me argue with the neighbors once again because I put the album on full volume so I can properly hear the amazing drum parts he delivers.
The production of Kostas Scandalis (HORIZON’S END) is phenomenal, making even the excellent acoustic versions of “Christmas Night” (from the previous album) and “Escaping the Illusion” or the bonus bassist improvisations of Domenikiotis sound exemplary.

Favorite songs? Well we simply can not choose, all are interesting. However I would anytime pick “Lonely Queen” due its neoclassical excellence, “Wounded Soul” because it has an amazing proggy development on the verses, “Escaping the Illusion” because it carries one of the best STAR.GATE choruses ever written and last but not least “Hiding all the Tears” because Fatsis nails it in this one.

So to cut a long story sort here we have a very good melodic metal / hard rock album, but you’ll more genres in-between blended with ease, naturally. A great collection of songs that will give you endless hours of listening pleasure as you would come back to it again and again.
We want more bands with the passion of STAR.GATE and more records like “Escaping the Illusion”.
Highly Recommended


01 – Hiding All The Tears
02 – The Deepest Sea
03 – Lonely Queen
04 – Life Is An Illusion
05 – Wounded Soul
06 – I Am Here
07 – The Enemy Inside
08 – Outcast
09 – Christmas Night (Acoustic Version)
10 – Life Is An Illusion (Acoustic Version)
11 – Formless Flame (Instrumental)
12 – The Field Of Oneness (Instrumental)
13 – Crystal Blade (Instrumental / Bass Solo)

Kostas Domenikiotis: Bass
Manos Fatsis: Lead and Backing Vocals
Sakis Bandis: Keyboards
Anthimos Manti: Guitars
Stergios Kourou: Drums



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