In spite of this album being only the man's second solo effort, Eric Kampman is a veteran in the business with a career stretching twenty years back, including a stint as keyboardist and vocalist in the prog band Now. Kampman's first album The Well (see review in Tarkus no 20) was a somewhat sterile affair, and even if most of the music in The Gate is also electronic, the end result is quite different. He has used the number 7 as a starting point, something which, among other things, has resulted in all compositions being written in seven time. Don't let this frighten you. Kampman is an elegant, sophisticated, inventive and tasteful composer who has evaded all the traps lying in this favourite neo prog rhythm. He has also avoided the sterile, all-digital sound which made The Well less attractive. The musical style is hard to classify, occasionally it is electro-prog in the vein of Bjørn Lynne or Andy Pickford (but better than both), occasionally it is melodic pop-prog in the vein of Izz and Ritual, and occasionally we find traces of neoprog like IQ and The Flower Kings. Kampman's great advantage is his compositional skill and his fine vocals. The record is full of good ideas and well-written themes. Always melodic and catchy, always challenging and full of surprises. Don't Try is as close as you can get to a straight pop ballad, but it is saved by Kampman's great voice and an inventive arrangement. It is beautiful all the same. In contrast stands The Gate Is Closed where he almost combines Yes and Gentle Giant in the use of melodies and rhythm. The Gate is a record full of surplus and creativity, a record I have become very fond of because Kampman's intelligent and at the same time attractive melodies has managed to touch something within me. A record which deserves a large audience. © 2003 Tarkus Magazine.