May 252011

(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 . . .) Continue reading »

Apr 022011

Technically, we should have posted this yesterday, but yesterday was April Fool’s Day, and people might have thought we were making up some of this shit. But it’s all true, and nothing happens on April 2 to plant doubt about truth. Except for what causes doubt to be planted about truth on any other day of the year.

Here we are at the beginning of the second quarter of 2011 — the time when for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is supposed to spring.  Where I live, spring has apparently been victimized by a brutal street mugging and is hospitalized at the moment.  A few plants have been deluded into thinking it’s spring, but for the rest of our local world, it’s still fucking winter.

Fortunately, the change of the seasons have fuck all to do with the release of metal. What we do with these installments of METAL IN THE FORGE is collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last 30 days (or in this case, the last 31 days) about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know them yet. And in this post, we cut and paste the announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

This isn’t a cumulative list, so be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming New Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported in previous installments. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. There’s some awesome shit on the way. Dive in after the jump. Continue reading »