THE GATES OF SLUMBER (Conqueror) CD
'Conqueror' is more than an appropriate title for the third full-length from THE GATES OF SLUMBER, because they conquered the hearts of a lot of metal fans all over the world since the band was formed back in the late 1990's. The debut album 'The Awakening' was purest Doom Metal whereas its successor 'Suffer No Guilt' incorporated a lot of 70's and early 80's metal influences. Since that release two years are gone, and there have been a few changes. Firstly, drummer Chris Gordon left the band and was preplaced by 'Iron' Bob Fouts. Secondly, THE GATES OF SLUMBER has expanded their Heavy Metal influences much stronger than ever before. Sometimes a subtle Saint Vitus-like vibe is still shining through a few of the songs, but you must listen close to discover that. But THE GATES OF SLUMBER appear to have found the perfect blend of accessibility and bone-crunching intensity, while most of the songs are catchy as hell.
This is certainly not an easy listen, but somehow the band manages to keep your attention over the complete running time of 62 minutes. The pace of each song is varied and at times soaked with aggressiveness. Thirdly, guitarist Karl Simon's development as a vocalist has truly surpassed all my expectations. Perfect examples are songs like 'Conqueror', 'Eyes of the Liar', and the monumental 'Dark Valley Suite', where the band returns also to the concept of 'Suffer No Guilt' with its epic long-winding tracks. The only thing I criticize is the production; it's moderately oppressive, but sometimes the guitar is sounding like an electric razor. Nevertheless THE GATES OF SLUMBER are indeed masters of their own, unique sound and that is something to be respected. In the US the album has been released from Profound Lore, and in Europe through I Hate Records.