(NCS writer BadWolf provides a critique of the new album by The Gates of Slumber, released in North America on May 10 by Rise Above Records and Metal Blade.)
New-Doom pack leaders The Gates of Slumber strike a fine line between advancing their sound and returning to the very roots of doom with their newest LP, The Wretch. The result is their most distilled piece of work, and their most relatable.
The Gates of Slumber play the oldest and least-altered style of metal modeled after Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus. Like a shark or crocodile, this style of metal has no need for evolution: it does only a few things, like excellent riffs and narrative lyrics, but does them perfectly. The Wretch embodies this style. For evidence, look no further than opening track “Bastard Born,” which follows the riff-narrative template of the Delta blues guitar tradition.
The Wretch’s greatest strength is a renewed sense of true doom, the self-loathing paranoia that made Black Sabbath amazing. The Gates of Slumber’s previous two records, Conqueror and Hymns of Blood and Thunder, were flawed-but-great albums with escapist fantasy lyrics. That escapism sapped their records of any palpable doom and gloom. Fortunately for us, the evil is back. (more after the jump . . .)