|The Gates Of Slumber - Hymns Of Blood & Thunder|
|1. Chaos Calling||6. The Bringer Of War|
|2. Death Dealer||7. Descent Into Madness|
|3. Beneath The Eyes Of Mars||8. Iron Hammer|
|4. The Doom Of Aceldama||9. The Mist In The Mourning|
|5. Age Of Sorrow||10. Blood & Thunder|
Too many The Gates Of Slumber may well be a new name to them and the bands latest opus ‘Hymns Of Blood and Thunder’ the first time they have been exposed to their music, but this is far from a debut release in a journey that started for the Indianapolis Doom trio over ten years ago. The bands previous release ‘Conqueror’ was hailed by those within the Doom community as one of the albums of 2008 and the realisation of a talent that had shown signs of its potential previously, but like so much in life however building a reputation comes with its own challenges as the weight of expectation grows with every passing positive review.
The band don’t appear to have been burdened with expectation as ‘Hymns Of Blood and Thunder’ continues in much the same vein as its predecessor, amalgamating the bands more traditional Doom influences with a more classic Metal vibe. The bands Black Sabbath influences have been ever present in their music but here more so than ever before there are more than just brief flashes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest in these songs. Giving the album dynamism the band had not previously achieved.
Karl Simon continues to develop as a vocalist and while still lacking top range his capabilities grow from album to album, and to his credit continues to write vocal melodies that challenge him rather than plod on content with the status quo. Simon’s shines however in his capacity as guitarist delivering riff after riff of classic studs and leather Metal. Such songs as ‘The Bringer Of War’, ‘Iron Hammer’ and ‘Death Dealer’ give the album its brooding darker undertones and the whole album has that Manowar battle cry feel to it.
Drummer ‘Iron’ Bob Fouts delivers his best performance to date and it is clear to see where the hymns of thunder aspects came from, while Jason McCash puts in a shift to supply the booming bass lines. ‘Hymns Of Blood and Thunder’ has a fire and brimstone quality to it evoking the spirit of bygone days of ‘Rainbow Rising’ and ‘Sabotage’, where Heavy Metal was pure unadulterated fantastical escapism, giving the album an almost timeless quality and is Heavy Metal at its very best. To pick holes does feel like trying to find fault rather than there being an obvious flaw, sometimes things are just what they seem and in the case of ‘Hymns Of Blood and Thunder’ things seem pretty flawless to me.
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