The Gates of Slumber - _Hymns of Blood and Thunder_
(Rise Above, 2009)
by: Alexandra Erickson (8 out of 10)
I wish I could leave a review at "listen to it, you won't be disappointed, I promise" and have you believe me and be satisfied upon listening. The Gates of Slumber are one of those sleeping giants (no relative pun intended), quietly going about their business of doom as usual without piquing too much interest outside of a very small niche. This album, _Hymns of Blood and Thunder_, thrust them into the limelight and woke up a population of metal fans who had found what they'd been looking for without ever knowing they were missing it in the first place. Heavily groovy, staunchly traditional, heavy metal done right, pure and simple. No frills, no fancy studio effects, no smoke and mirrors production to make it more grandiose than it should be in the first place. No, this is Cathedral and St. Vitus meet Motorhead in a dark alley and have a bastard child, a child that makes damned good music.

Doom purists, this is an album for you. This isn't some bizarre off-shoot of doom that can claim the title based simply on a molasses pace and downtuning. This is at home in the late '70s, long haired, epic mustachioed, hanging out at Scott Wino's place. Vocals that are hypnotic, clean, Messiah-esque at times. Howling and enchanting at their very core. Chugging guitars that never move too slow except for dramatic effect, bass that rattles your teeth loose, drums that force you to head bang without ever realizing you're doing it... I can't dissect this album. It feels like a living entity unto itself that words can't flatter. Traditional doom released in 2009. This album has made quite a few 'top albums of the year' lists as well, if that's any indication of how widely and how well it's been received. Again, Candlemass, St. Vitus, Reverend Bizarre, Count Raven fans... this will delight you to no end. Wailing guitar solos that whinny so beautifully you'll find yourself involuntarily raising an eyebrow out of respect, vocals that make you clench a fist and pump along with the beat, from start to finish this is a clean release. You'll have it on heavy rotation, trust me. My only complaint is that this material is so old-school that it can at times feel like rehashed old standards. I won't compare it to the giant albums, but we know which direction I'm nodding. Again, with that being my only complaint... listen to it, you won't be disappointed, I promise.


(article published 4/1/2010)

12/13/2008 Q Kalis 8 The Gates of Slumber - Conqueror
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