Sometimes, good things do come for free. Such is the case with Italy’s Seven Gates. Sure, you’ve heard Italian power metal done a thousand times before, you say, but this band has two things going for them: One, they are very very talented. Two, this album, their sophomore effort, is available for download in its entirety at their website! Apparently they do not wish to see their music fall into the hands of profit-hungry record companies, choosing instead this, more direct, route of distribution. Well, one can only bow down in gratitude at such a way of reasoning! All this would mean nothing, however, if the music sucked. Rest assured, it does not. I’ve promised myself to write only about bands I like. There will always be parts one does not enjoy as much, of course, but for the most part, these guys slay. Sure, they play power metal, as do many others, but they play flawlessly, they have a nice, meaty production lending the guitars that extra crunch (and this is most gratifying, since the album was entirely produced by themselves!) and, most importantly, they write catchy, anthemic and very good songs. I’d like to point out some songs that elevate above the rest, at least for me. They are the opener Message To The Stars, which boasts a very anthemic, uplifting chorus that reminds you of Helloween in their glory days. We have my personal favorite, if I had to choose but one, which is Honour And Pride. Now is this not exactly what power metal is all about? Honour and pride, I mean. This song, along with Freedom, in particular, showcase the extremely strong voice of vocalist Federico Puleri (who is sadly no longer with the band). Man, what a set of pipes this guy has! When he holds that note for what seems like an eternity in the latter song and when he hits the chorus of the former, it’s like … time stops. Gives me goosebumps everytime. Now of course, if you’re not particularly into power metal to begin with, you won’t find any redeeming qualities about Seven Gates. However, if you do appreciate this kind of music for what it’s worth, by all means, dig in. The band should be lauded, not only for their generosity in offering this album for free, but also because they seem to take serious pride in what they do, as everything is of top-notch quality, from the songs themselves to the artwork and presentation. Hats off!