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The Gates of Slumber - the Awakening (2004)
(...)While not quite reaching the status of legends, Minneapolis three-piece THE GATES OF SLUMBER have been crushing skulls since 1998, years ahead of the renaissance of Doom. Their first full-length "The Awakening" was unleashed upon the world in 2004, and proudly carries the banner of Traditional Doom.(...)
For the uninitiated, THE GATES OF SLUMBER have made a name for themselves through offering extensive tribute at the temple of SAINT VITUS, while imbuing their axes with a hefty dose of MANILLA ROAD-style Heavy Metal. The trifecta is completed by an affinity for Robert E. Howard's fantasy epics, forming a strong brew of heaviness served in a grimly repurposed skull. The band's love for the low-fantasy chronicles of Conan serves the music well as a general theme, grounding the dark epic sound which never descends into anything overtly cheesy.
The main drawback of "The Awakening" comes with the segments of pure VITUS-worship. These crawling bleak moments serve only as a platform from which huge riffs can evolve, and bring little to the table when left to simmer for a while. However, when the riffs and solos explode, the results are often neckbreaking. Songs like "The Jury" and "The Executioner" are the musical equivalent of a battleaxe in the gut, and a celebration of all things heavy. At times the vocals fail to live up to the pounding melodies, and a generally rough-around-the-edges sound bear witness to a band that are still finding their stride. On that note, it's worth noting that many of these songs are repurposed from earlier demos, stretching as far back as 2000.
In retrospect, THE GATES OF SLUMBER have proven to be one of the most stalwart purveyors of Traditional Doom Metal, and "The Awakening" testaments that their path has not strayed. While not as immediately captivating and refined as their 2009 masterpiece "Hymns Of Blood And Thunder", their debut is still worth its salt in grimy crawls and triumphant gallops. (...)
Quote:01 - The Awakening (Interpolating the Wrath of the Undead)
02 - The Judge
03 - The Jury
04 - Broken on the Wheel
05 - The Executioner
06 - Blessed Pathway to the Celestial Kingdom
07 - The BurialCover art is a detail from The Triumph of Death, a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.