The Gates of Slumber
Stormcrow EP

Although Black Sabbath are credited for inventing the slower, bleaker strand of heavy metal known as Doom Metal, it wasn’t until bands such as Witchfinder GeneralSaint Vitus and Trouble arrived in the 1980’s that the genre really took off and was given a title. Nowadays the world is awash with this style of metal, and Indianapolis’s The Gates of Slumber are another band of this ilk. The E.P. Stormcrow was released earlier in 2013, produced by Sanford Parker who has garnered critical acclaim for his work with Rwake and U.S. Christmas, amongst other artists.

Stormcrow failed to capture my imagination, sadly. At times it is painfully similar to the aforementioned Saint Vitus, and although the obvious lyrical borrowings from “Born Too Late” are meant in good faith (you said that I was dying inside/there is nothing I can do), it just doesn’t work and comes across as tired. The E.P.’s opener, “Death March”, is the best track on here, and admittedly is well written, with sumptuous fuzzy guitar riffage and howling yet melodic vocals. Karl Simon, the band’s lead guitarist shows off his chops with a tidy, well-written solo towards the end.

The second track, “(Devil’s Grip) Driven Insane”, is also full of the same qualities. “Son of Hades” falls a bit short though, it’s rather grating chorus and generic guitar playing lets it down; “Dragon Caravan” fails to ignite any real interest either. The E.P. is rounded off with “Of That Which Can Never Be”, stronger than the previous two tracks, with decent vocal melodies (yet clichéd and dry lyrics) and quality doom riffage. The extended outro is one of the high points of the E.P; and ends the music on a good note.

All in all, this release by The Gates of Slumber will keep obsessives of the band and genre happy, but as for providing something groundbreaking it falls short. Had these very songs been written by Saint Vitus and included on their excellent comeback album, Lille F:65 last year, people would not have batted an eyelid – which says as much for originality of The Gates of Slumber as it does for the quality of their songs.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jack Taylor
August 14th, 2013


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