Release Date : May 10th, 2011
I can’t resist a good doom metal album. So naturally when I saw Indiana’s The Gates of Slumber hit my desk, I was thrilled. Their newest masterpiece is an eight song dirge of doom and despair entitled The Wretch.
Currently, the band is a three piece consisting of founder Karl Simon on guitar and vocal duties, and after a seemingly revolving door rhythm section, they’ve picked Jason McCash for bass duties, and the band’s most recent bastard son, J. “Cool” Clyde Paradis (ex-Sourvein) manning the kit.
Says McCash of the band’s latest addition:
“We’re stoked about the future of The Gates Of Slumber with the addition of ‘Cool’ Clyde on drums. All three of us are speaking the same language and have the same focus and drive; the legion has become one. It’s like having an adrenaline shot to the heart and exhaling for the first time afterwards, seeing new possibilities. For us as a band, the best is yet to come.”
And with that statement the band immediately makes it evident that they are serious about their doom. The Wretch is the ninteenth release overall for these veterans, and that includes EPs, compilations and splits with other bands. And this set of songs is as pulverizing as they come. Production duties for The Wretch were handled by Jaime Gomez Arellano at Orgone Studion.
From the beginning of this new album, one gets the sense that these guys wrote the text book on doom metal. The first track, “Bastards Born” is a slow, muddy six-minute plus dirge to lies told, and curses laid. The song does an excellent job setting the tone of the record. We then move on to the band’s first single off the album called “Scovrge ov Drvnkenness”. This is a mid-tempo number consisting of a more sludgy sound, featuring Simon’s wailing lead guitar, and mournful vocals reminiscent of Goatsnake.
“To The Rack With Them” reminds us that skull-caving metal need not be without melody.
One of the strongest tracks on the album comes sixth in sequence, and is called “Coven of Cain”. This song is the most up-tempo track on the album, and is slated to be a fan favorite live.
Finally, we come to the closing track on the album, the epic twelve-plus minute “Iron and Fire”. At almost a quarter of the album time altogether, I found myself wondering where the track was going, as it seemed almost needlessly long. Other than that, the song fits well on this album as a whole.
The Wretch has a very classic old school metal feel to it. This record will appeal to fans of bands like Goatsnake, Sunn (((O))), and other bands of the doom genre. Fans of sludge metal like Crowbar or Acid Bath may also find this album appealing. For fans less familiar with any of these bands, simply know if you love early Black Sabbath, these guys will fit nicely into your collection.
The Gates of Slumber have created another caliginous brew here. The Wretch is in stores now so do your soul a favor and pick it up.
Rating : 7.2/10
Notables : The Scourge Ov Drunkenness, Coven of Cain, Day of Farewell