Riders of doom...
Originally released in 2006, The Gates of Slumber's Suffer No Guilt is released this year on Deepsend records. I do not think that there has been made any changes to the album production-wise, so you might ask yourself "why the hell rerelease it?". Well, the answer is that it is a bloody good album, so why not reissue it so more people will become familiar with it? That's quite simple logic to me.
Anyway, it is also a great chance for people to experience some old school doom metal amidst the swamp of sludge- and stoner-metal releases that pass for doom metal nowadays. Well, I dislike neither sludge- nor stoner-metal, but I know that a lot of old school doomsters are critical towards the take on slow and heavy music that is associated with sludge- and stoner-metal, and the reissue of this album should no doubt be good news to them.
True to the old school doom metal genre, The Gates of Slumber start of their album, following the Candlemass formula, with an uptempo rocker in the form of 'Angel of Death' which gallops its way straight into your inner caveman's headbanging genes, before the slow and wonderfully doom-laden title track kicks in with a slow and heavy riff. Slightly similar in style is the 12-minutes long aptly titled 'Riders of Doom' which features an atmosphere-setting intro with the sound of hoves and midnight storms, followed by a slow bass riff eventually accompanied by a bluesy lead guitar some two and a half minutes into the song, a heavy guitar riff spells doom and gloom in a fashion not dissimilar to Saint Vitus' simple but effective riffs. As if to remind us that, in doom metal, things are not rushed, the vocals only kick in after six minutes, as the tempo is also sped up a bit. Even more epic is the 22 minutes long 'God Wills It' which takes the listener on a journey through all kinds doom and gloom.
In addition to the doom tracks "proper", the album features several interesting little intermezzos, some of which are strangely psychedelic (like 'Wyrmwood), while others are melodic and melancholic acoustic pieces (like 'Children of the Night'), and others again have an almost epic like feel to them (like 'Gemini' and the outro 'The Woe of Kings').
In essence, everything about this album spells old school doom metal – from the Saint Vitus-esque riffage over the Black Sabbath-inspired heavy bass and the Pentagram-like psychedelia to the Cirith Ungol-informed fantasy-inspired cover art. And nothing could be more awesome than that. Fans of said doom metal artists should, if they are not already familiar with The Gates of Slumber's Suffer No Guilt, invest in it with no hesitation.
(review originally posted at seaoftranquility.org)