The Gates of Slumber

The Wretch

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The greatest misconception about the Gates of Slumber is that the Indiana trio is your typical, run-of-the-mill doom band, but anyone who's actually spent time with the group's discography would beg to differ. As of its very first album, the trio has in fact been experimenting with different metallic varieties, ranging from traditional ‘70s vintages to energized ‘80s flavors to a few psychedelic, semi-thrash, and even downright foreign musical elements to, sure, good old-fashioned doom as well. But it wasn't until album number five, 2011's indicatively named The Wretch, that the Gates of Slumber truly embraced the style with which they've been most closely associated for all it's worth -- possibly with the desire to ground themselves in metal's most unpretentious underground tenets once again, following the higher creative ambitions flirted with on 2009's Hymns of Blood and Thunder. Whatever the group's motivations, The Wretch certainly indulges in some of most brazen and unapologetic Saint Vitus worship heard in some time, as evidenced by the grimy snail's trail left by slothful juggernauts such as "Bastards Born," "Day of Farewell," the title track, and the 13-minute colossus "Iron and Fire" in particular. Other offerings do pick up the pace somewhat (see "The Scovrge ov Drvnkenness" [sic], "To the Rack with Them," and the only serious galloping ghost, "Coven of Cain"), but still never leave the Vitus aesthetic behind, and the mildly psychedelic trip undertaken by "Castle of the Devil" -- in obvious tribute to Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan" -- is seriously about as far out as TGOS get here. All of which may well leave some listeners upset at The Wretch's overall lack of invention, but will probably convince others that the Gates of Slumber fully deserve the doom credentials alluded to by their moniker, once and for all.

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