GATES OF SLUMBER - The Wretch CD
Rise Above Records
This Indianapolis trio decided to go back to their most Doom-ish demo basics on this their fifth full length which is equal to a weekend overdosing on SABBATH and SAINT VITUS. GATES OF SLUMBER made their name known to pretty much anyone into extreme music in 2008 with their third full length, the almighty Conqueror. They followed it up with the even more spectacular Hymns of Blood and Thunder in 2009. Both releases were of a faster breed then traditional doom with plenty of NWOBHM influence. They were cruising down the same path as other US stalwarts MANILLA ROAD and CIRITH UNGOL had done before. Both releases were certainly accessible to average listening audiences and garnered their fair share of critical acclaim. But honestly this new one is simply fuckin fantastic because it's nothing more then pure traditional doom. I'm talking slow, cold and calculated. On the past two releases guitarist/vocalist Karl Simon was pushing the limits of his singing range but on The Wretch he's is perfect. Also it doesn't take away from his Iomni like riffage. Bassist Jason McCash is heavy and loud as he should be. Plus new found drummer J Clyde Paradis, who replaced Bob Fouts (now of APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE) is a perfect addition since his drumming only adds to the fluidness of the bass and guitar.
SABBATH and SAINT VITUS influences are in full swing here with Karl Simon pulling out some great Wino homages on cuts like "The Scourge Ov Drunkenness" as well as the title cut. “To the Rack with Them” is a bluesy rocker amidst the down tuned dependency and also showcases Simon's effectively placed solos. The song just breaks as if the clouds have parted and Simon just floats the solo in as the rhythm section just plows onward. “Day of Farewell" follows and explodes onto you with an epic power fueled by Jason McCash's bass line. The song crawls across mountain peaks and valleys for four and half minutes until Simon channels an Iomni like solo that's so sharp it'll cut your throat. "Castle of the Devil" definitely has it's moments of SABBATH as it starts out like the doomish "Solitude" then drops in some powerful crashes until finally slipping into a Jason McCash bass lead jam with Simon soloing as if they were remaking "Warning". The song finally returns to it's early stage which is haunting. "Coven of Cain" is the only cut on The Wretch with some actual speed and hearkening back to their two previous releases. Once again it's SABBATH homage time with a Simon solo influenced by many listens to "Neon Nights". The closing cut, the over twelve minute "Iron and Fire", is almost like a monument to the Circle of True Doom. A perfect way to close the gates of this excellent release.