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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.