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(51:36; Warner Music Norway)
Gate (English: riddle) is a band from Trondelag, who were formed by Sveinung Sundli (violin, keyboards) in 2000, together with his sister Gunnhild Sundli (vocals), Gjermund Landro (bass, backing vocals), Martin Langlie (drums) and Magnus Robot Bormark (guitar, keyboards). In some ways these guys put Def Leppard to shame, as Gunnhild was just 15 at the time, and when they released this their debut album in 2002, she was the grand old age of 17. They take folk as their base, and some of their songs are actually reworkings of Norwegian folk numbers, but they feel far more strident and rough-edged than one would expect from that description. Gunnhild reminds me somewhat of Bjork, but with a band whose guitars are so sharp and staccato that one could easily get cut by the jagged riffs. All lyrics are in Norwegian, but that isnít an issue as it adds to the mystery, as the band switch from one style to another, with the metallic blasting "Springleik" giving way to "Stengd dor" which features Gunnhild accompanied by a piano and loads of reverb. This album saw them win the Spellemann award for Best New Artist, and Gunnhildís amazing vocals (which even at this age showed incredible power and sustain, moving through jazz, classical and other styles) combined with infectious and melodic support saw them take the critics by storm. This doesnít sound like a young band with a debut, but rather an established act who had been around for years, as this is mature, polished and enjoyable from the very first. I still canít decide which is my favourite studio album from Gate, as they are all so strong. They were soon back in the studio, though.
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