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I have been an advocate for this band for a few years now. Ever since I discovered Conqueror, which was an incredible mix of 1980's style heavy metal and traditional doom, with enough catchy songs to keep me coming back for more. The Gates of Slumber then blew me away again with their next album, Hymns of Blood and Thunder, so it their most recent album from this year was heavily anticipated.
The Gates of Slumber have come through yet again. The band seems to keep getting better. "The Wretch" is their best album that I have yet heard, which is saying quite a bit because each of their last two have been Top 10 of the Year-worthy albums. This one looks to be in that range again this year.
The thing that I think makes The Gates of Slumber such a great band is that their music never sounds forced. They are not playing this type of traditional, old school-sounding metal because it is popular or profitable. They play this because they seem to genuinely enjoy playing it. That comes across very well in their sound. All of their songs are crafted perfectly and easily capture the spirit of the music that the band seems to really love. This is absolutely not "hipster metal", it is heavy metal, plain and simple.
Once again, TGoS have put out an album that is a mix between traditional doom in the style of Cirith Ungol, Trouble, and Candlemass, mixed with 1980's metal bands like Exciter, Manilla Road, and Brocas Helm. Their lyrical themes may be a little cliche at times, but that is all part of the charm, and with music as good as this, it really does not matter anyway. Each song is infectious and done with a sense of fun rather than an overbearing morbidity like many other doom bands.
The Gates of Slumber has once more impressed me. This is easily Top 10-worthy for the year and possibly their best album yet.