The GATES OF SLUMBER (U.S.) “…the Awakening” CD review by The Grim Tower

The GATES OF SLUMBER (U.S.) “…the Awakening” CD review

by The Grim Tower

By Eric May

Now this is more like it. Traditional Sabbathy (with a capital “S”) doom metal produced by three guys, not six. Showing that three men can produce the kind of music that some bands feel that six, eight, twelve or even thirty men might only be able to accomplish. What you’ve got here is a raw sounding effort that reminds me very much of the earliest Black Sabbath records. The vocalist was most certainly influenced by Ozzy, yet he’s got a bit of a southern drawl that might not appeal to some folks. The guitars thunder with a vengeance, and everything gives off a atmospheric sense of foreboding doom, especially on the title track “The Awakening 7:49.” The cover features a Conan inspired barbarian going to war with what looks like a Lich king, but the album itself doesn’t seem to flow for that concept. Something darker, like a skull-faced judge sentencing the damned to the abyss, might have been more to the style of this album.

Nevertheless, the guitar melodies are great on this one, and the solos are just as good as any you’d find in traditional doom – something the new The Sword album, Apocryphon was severely lacking. The album does sound a bit thin in areas, but the fact that these guys worked very hard to put it together is definitely there. “The Judge 6:04” might not be so great, but “The Jury 7:25” is most certainly jammable. You’ll hear some great melodies on “Broken On The Wheel 5:34” which make me wonder why this thing hasn’t been reissued sooner. That middle section is one of the most badass middle sections I’ve heard in doom in quite a while, and it’s the shit I look for. I always subconsciously ask a band when I review, “Alright. How can you amaze me?” and it’s shit like that that manages to answer my question.

“The Executioner 3:19” comes off priestly, but I fucking love Priest, so shove it in your ass if you don’t like those guys. That’s the birth of heavy metal right there, like it or not. However, this song isn’t as great as it could be and is kind of out of place, other than the shred-tastic fucking solos. As for the album’s technical closer, “The Burial 9:36” those same solos help to pepper the classic doom atmosphere of the track, an atmosphere that goes as far back as the actual “Black Sabbath” in nature. And I’m not just referring to the band, I’m talking about the actual fucking track itself. It’s a perfect closer for the album and the way you want a doom album to end.

Bonus Track

The Cloaked Figure – God, I fucking love this one. Even though the lyrics aren’t featured on this one, this song fucking kills beyond anything that has ever killed before in terms to just sheer fucking grimness. I used to be “The Grim Lord” so I know what the fuck grim means, and these guys have it. Those are the riffs that play when a meteor is heading straight for the planet, Cthulhu and his minions arise from the sea, or the fucking antichrist is crowned in a golden temple. That’s the shit you’ll hear in your head. All nine minutes and thirty-four seconds of this song are fucking brilliant. This is the way you END a doom album.

These guys know how to make great doom, just the way the masters have done it – those Masters Of Illusion that we thank partly for metal, (I’d like to think that Priest also owe a big part to it’s foundation among others) Black Sabbath. Though a little southern-fired on vocals, this is exactly what I was looking for from the genre and I strongly recommend it, even though there are a couple of tracks that don’t quite hit the mark. It’s one of those albums that I have to simply say, “even if you’ve got tracks like this, there’s also tracks like THAT and THAT is fucking worth it all.”

Highlights: The Awakening, The Jury, Broken On The Wheel, The Burial, The Cloaked Figure (9 Tracks, 53:00)

Rating: 8/10

Review link:

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To purchase The GATES OF SLUMBER “…the Awakening” CD and other The GATES OF SLUMBER merchandise go to:

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