Gates was founded in autumn 1999 by JJ Rockford. After playing
in several wellknown (swedish) west coast bands, mainly Elevator
Kreator and Rockford's Hjältar ("Rockford's Heroes"
in english), JJ decided it was time to move on a form a more
classic metal band. JJ remembers: "I had recently bought
a sequenser called Micrologic, and really started to improve
my song writing abilities. Had a lot of great heavy metal
songs, but no one to play them with. The 90s was, as you might
know, not the decade when classic metal was the most popular
thing. But when Hammerfall released their first album, it
became more popular again. To a bigger audience at least,
I should add. Real fans hardly care about what's hot and not.".
(Micrologic is nowadays known as Logic, and only avaible on
found the very talented bass (and guitar) player David Agnsviks
pretty quick, and they started to rehearse along with a drum
machine. A few months later, early spring 2000, the in many
way impressive Mick van Slowfoot replaced the drum machine.
Things started to sound really promising. Soon Mick's old
band mates, singer Criss Blackburn and guitarist Niclas Cederfeldt,
also joined, and the first complete line-up of VII Gates was
line-up was almost finished with the rehearsals for the first
demo-EP, when David Agnsviks tragically died in a traffic
accident in august 2000. They where also evicted from their
rehearsal room, after three reports to the police about too
loud music. Niclas also had to leave the band.
of autumn 2000 was spent with building a new rehearsal room
(Mick's ex-car repair garage and celebration premesis), rehearsing
with new bass player Magnus Jacobsson, and trying to find
a new guitarist. Tried several, among them Martin Bengtsson
(Lechery, Armageddon) who actually where offered the job,
but turned the offer down.
2001, just before the studio session that would result in
the first demo EP "When gates are opening", Robert
"Basti" Makek joined the band as guitarist. The
demo-EP was very well received around Europe. The band was
also offered a record deal from Shark Records, if they could
record another 5-6 songs. So they did pretty quickly, but
decided to turn the offer down. Asking some colleagues in
Sweden, it seemed like Shark Records didn't have the best
reputation in this business.
six songs record where still released as another EP, called
"A dark room of my mind". For these recordings,
VII Gates was expanded with a sixth member, keyboard player
Tim Diaz, a cousin to Criss. Tim, who played piano on the
song "Memory of a friend" (dedicated to David Agnsviks)
on "When gates are opening", really added an extra
dimension with his tasteful keyboard playing.
2001, Basti was fired from the band due to personal reasons.
VII Gates played as a quintet for several months. But in spring
2002, after unraveling the previous dispersions, Basti was
allowed to join the band again.
the summer 2002, VII Gates recorded yet another 6-song EP,
called "The madman inside", which would also become
the foundation of the first album. This EP was even better
received than the first two, and led to a record deal with
Portuguese record label Sound Riot Records. Negotiations about
the contract took some time. Magnus left the band, and Moe
A:son joined instead. But the following summer, VII Gates
finally finished the recording of the first album, "Fire,
walk with me".
cooperation with Sound Riot Records didn't work out to well
thought, and they decided to drop the band. Luckily VII Gates
soon found a new home by Lion Music. Moe left Sweden for Australia,
and VII Gates was lucky to recruit bass phantom Nicolas "Butcher"
work with the next album started. Driven by the success of
with the first album, the band decided to take everything
at least three steps further. This led to very intense periods
with composing, recording, re-composing, re-recording and
so on. This, along with a lot of technical problems, meant
that it took almost three years to finnish the album. But
finally it was finished, and was given the name "In hoc
signo vinces", which could be translated to "In
this sign you will conquer". The album is set for release
on November 14th 2009 on Lion Music.