The Gates of Slumber‘s first album with drummer J. “Cool Clyde” Paradis, The Wretch gathers eight despondent tracks of potent traditional doom that demonstrate quite clearly why the Indianapolis trio have garnered their reputation as one of the best American acts going in the genre. Their last two records, 2008′s Conqueror and 2009′s Hymns of Blood and Thunder, were the band’s breakthrough, but with The Wretch, they cut the tempos and were able to put across a minimal, miserable atmosphere, epitomized in the woeful guitar and vocals of Karl Simon.
Balance that with a depth of songwriting that made cuts like “To the Rack with Them” and “The Scourge ov Drvnkenness” as effective on a structural level as they were in terms of ambience, and flat-out, The Wretch just ruled. Simon, Paradis and bassist Jason McCash were able to keep the barbaric feel of their prior to albums while also inflicting their melancholy on listeners, and of all the doom I’ve heard so far into 2011, none of it has been quite as doomed as The Gates of Slumber. It’s not just about being loud, or just being heavy, but it’s the downtrodden spirit driving the songs.
That feeling can’t be faked, can’t be a put-on, can’t be bullshit. You’re either in it or you’re not, and The Gates of Slumber pulled it off with a sincerity and honesty that was matched by the fact that the material also rocked. The Wretch has plenty of time to prove its merits over extended listens in 2011, but more than that, I expect its timeless doom will satisfy for years to come. If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s not too late.
Tags: Indiana, Indianapolis, Rise Above, TFFH11, The Gates of Slumber