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Eldritch doom is here. - 85%

c_zar, December 10th, 2012

It is with great pleasure and highest praise that I recommend The Wandering Midget’s I Am the Gate, an original old school doom metal platter that is not a Black Sabbath casserole, but an immediately distinct release and perhaps the best album of its kind to come along since the the works of other Fins, Reverend Bizarre and Minotauri.

Comprised of two demos with technical flaws and a relatively thin sound stage (often one guitar when there should be two {or more}), I Am the Gate is an album that is a complete success because of quality songwriting and great singing. A couple of flubs and an overlong closer in the plodding, spacious doom style of Reverend Bizarre (read: seventeen minutes of heaviness centered on a few simple ideas) hardly diminish my enthusiasm over what is one the most necessary slabs of doom I’ve ever heard. The riffs are solid hooks in Epic Metal, New Wave of British Heavy Metal and seventies modes, but typically function in a secondary role beneath the singing.

Much credit should be laid at the feet of the incredible and unique vocalist Samuel Wormius. This vocalist’s odd inflection, disjunct note leaps and great fucking voice bring to mind the clean singing of Simen (Borknagar and Arcturus) with maybe a touch of the wizard-stylings of Mark Shelton (Manilla Road). Wormius is not at all an Ozzy clone, but a serious and emotive vocalist with a journeyman’s dramatic flair and excellent, excellent ideas. The chorus for “I Am the Gate” and “The Wandering Midget” are instantly and effortlessly memorable (read: not forced) and the searching vocal melodies throughout “Black Figure Follows the Burial Company” are totally inspired.

Their follow-up, The Serpent Coven, was a mess, but this release is highly recommend.

Decent Stoner/Doom stuff. - 75%

caspian, December 1st, 2007

Possessing possibly the worst band name ever, one word comes to mind when thinking of The Wandering Midget: Retarded and Stoned. (OK, that's three words but you get the drift.) But the good thing is that this is actually a compliment, or somewhat of a compliment anyway, as this is retarded and stoned doom metal at it's finest. Sludgey, loose to the point of being out of time, and just really really doomy 'n' hashy, this is a record that most doom fans will dig.

These guys follow a pretty simple formula, but somehow it's still all fairly unique. It basically sounds like Electric Wizard mixed with some of the slightly-less-baked sounds of old school doom, a good mix of the sludgier sounds of the more modern school with the epic strains of Candlemass, which can only be a very good thing.

The album is kind of surprising in that it's heavily back loaded. The first few songs are ok but fairly disposable, but everything "Wolfslayer" and afterwards is gold. "I Am The Gate" has some massive doom riffs that Sabbath would kill to have, and it's all topped off with a truly epic chorus- and just when you're all doomed out, a ripping solo and riff comes in for some seriously epic headbanging action. "Wasteland Shrine" sees the band slow the tempo way, way down for a 17 minute long dirge, it's basically Black Sabbath slowed down by a lot but it sounds freaking awesome. There's nothing totally unique here, but whether it's the major key mid tempo break of "The Wandering Midget" (yep, they named a song after themselves) or the straight forward, big riffin' doom of "Wolfslayer", these guys keep you interested.

One thing that helps is the way that it's all been produced. Now, it's by no means perfect, and while a thicker guitar tone would be nice, the whole thing has an immensely appealing rough 'n' raw vibe, which is the way doom should sound- you don't want a polished doom record. This sounds like it was recorded live in one take, mistakes and flubs be damned. Excellent Stuff. The vocals are an important part of this too- they're basically a less nasal and more stoned take on Ozzy's vocals, and they sit perfectly in the mix, going pretty out of tune here and there but generally being quite good.

The whole album is pretty good. It's not a doom classic, but it's a solid and highly enjoyable slab of doom with some nice psychedelic touches here and there and plenty of variety. Not sure how easy it is to find, but if you have a bit of spare money and want some nice stonery doom then this will be right up your alley. Enjoy!