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 Post subject: The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:11 pm 
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The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
Rise Above Records
Release date: September 29, 2009


If The Gates of Slumber's sophomore album, Suffer No Guilt, proved they could write undeniably great songs and follow-up Conqueror showed they were able to write a consistent album, Hymns of Blood and Thunder demonstrates they can do both at the same time.

What that means is Hymns of Blood and Thunder has a hard-hitting immediacy that doesn't let up until the last note. Opening track “Chaos Calling” packs a stronger punch than Suffer's “Angel of Death” and Conqueror's “Trapped in Web” combined, no small feat. It's a classic metal juggernaut, mixing brute force and grandiosity with some absolutely killer riffs. Second track “Death Dealer” follows the same pattern, and if you hadn't known the band started off as “true doom” (which is either a genre or a state of mind, depending on who you ask), it'd be easy to assume this three-piece is more indebted to an era of music – late 70's to early 80's metal – than any one specific genre. Hell, even the first slow number – the excellent “Beneath the Eye of Mars” - veers off the beaten path with an effective synth-driven passage. It's far from dogmatic in execution – I'd go so far as to say it's almost prog-doom.

Of course, The Gates of Slumber hasn't completely turned its collective back on its roots. “The Doom Of Aceldama” and “Descent into Madness” are both lumbering, lengthy epics. What sets them apart, though, is a finely honed sense of dynamics. The former's got a great chorus that builds to a majestic, galloping outro. Think early Priest and Maiden and you're on the right track. The pacing of the first half of “Descent” comes dangerously close to plodding, but is again saved by a strong vocal line. And the song completely redeems itself at the end, when it goes semi-acoustic (with more of that great synth) and pushes vocalist/guitarist Karl Simon's emotive solo to the front. It's a “calm before the storm” moment, and true enough, from there, “Descent” returns (or maybe I should say “descends”) back to the heavy.

It's those sort of creative flourishes – along with some seriously top notch songwriting - that elevates Hymns of Blood and Thunder to greatness. Whether it's the subtle layering of guitars (there are more acoustic moments than you'd think), the guest female vocals on “The Mist in the Mourning” (another one of those Conan-inspired, neo-classical tracks that the band's so fond of), or the way the band so effortlessly mixes might with majesty (throw "The Bringer of War" and "Blood and Thunder" onto that list), The Gates of Slumber have truly arrived into their own with Hymns of Blood and Thunder. If they're to be judged by one album, let this one be it. Highly recommended.

- John Pegoraro

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 Post subject: Re: The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:40 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:22 pm
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Fantastic live band. I'd recommend seeing'm if you have the chance. Non-hyphenated metal by lifers. As "traditional" as it sounds these guys seem to have heard wahts going on the past couple decades but stick to a form if not formula; and yeah some of it comes down to plain great tunesmithing.

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 Post subject: Re: The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:20 pm 
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Great band, both live and on record. This is my fave by them for the moment, but I'm really looking forward to the new one. Karl Simon's fb comments make it out to be their crowning achievement. He's certainly got my ears perked for it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:49 pm 
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I always thought this review summed it up pretty good:

Quote:
There aren't enough 80's style doom bands around these days. There are more bands than you can shake a stick at influenced by the first wave of doom of circa '68-'73, and far far too many bands in the funeral doom/extreme doom/drone whatever genre, but far too few take their cues from the golden era of the mid '80s.

Back when doom was still in every discernable way the evil twin of classic heavy metal, before bands like Kyuss and Sleep came along and influenced a whole new generation of bands, making the distinction between doom and stoner increasingly difficult to such a degree that by 2009 the two genres have more often than not merged into one and the same.

Then along comes The Gates Of Slumber with their fourth album, one that would sit quite comfortably on the shelf next to Candlemass, St. Vitus, Witchfinder General and Pagan Altar, with more than a few nods to these heroes of old. Is it a coincidence that Iron Hammer namedrops a vintage Trouble song in its very first line? Like hell it is.

Add to this a crummily organic, analogue sounding production, some of the most fun drumming I've heard on a heavy record since Stanton Moore tore Corrosion of Conformity a new asshole on In The Arms Of God four years ago, and an album cover worthy of Cirith Ungol and you got yourself an instant classic.

http://metalbastard.blogspot.com/2009/1 ... 20-11.html


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 Post subject: Re: The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:31 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:38 am
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Took me a long time to dig this album as much as Conqueror. That album is pure class but yes, so is Hymns. And yeah its probably better, just took longer for it to sink in. Not a huge fan of their earlier stuff but these last two albums are really something special. One of my favourite bands these days, keen for a new album


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 Post subject: Re: The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:12 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:38 am
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i love this album and this band

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 Post subject: Re: The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:18 am
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Read in a recent Decibel mag that they're in the studio recording a new album...looks like they've gotta new drummer though...


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 Post subject: Re: The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:11 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:48 am
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They do have a new drummer, and Bob is now playing bass in Apostle of Solitude. Interesting. Can't wait for new material.


I got the "die hard" for this one, it's a badass album, right up there with Conqueror. The longer, slower songs are amazing, but the ones that hit quick are also right up there.

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 Post subject: Re: The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:58 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:38 am
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yea bob is no longer in the band which is a bummer, but whatevs. bob is always working on a ton of projects and as said above is in AoS now playing bass. im sure the new TGOS will crush. karl and mccash can write like some mofo's.

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 Post subject: Re: The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:17 pm 
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Location: Massachusetts
Revisiting this album. I go hot and cold with it...I'll pull it out one month and love it, then a couple months later I'll listen to it and think "nah, this was overrated". Right now I'm really into it...possibly because I was listening to Sabbath and Manilla Road. Might be something to that Cult Of True Doom...if I come into this album off something really different, it's not going to hit me the same way as it does if I'm in an old school metal mood already. And the guys who give birth to this stuff are always in an old school metal mood.

Ripping guitar, no doubt. Never heard the follow up (Wretch?), but Dinger had said it wasn't as hot, and he was at the time a big fan, as his post here indicates. I'd check it out anyway...saw it on some top ten lists.

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 Post subject: Re: The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:43 am 
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The Wretch went back to the 100% troo kvlt doom sound. Not many fast moments, if any (I'll revisit this morning while getting caught up on receipts and bills). I liked it, but not as much as this one, Conqueror, and most of Suffer No Guilt, just because when all is said and done, I'm more of a fast metal guy than a doom metal guy.

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