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Album Review

Although their moniker would suggest the ultimate doom band, Indiana's Gates of Slumber have actually never thought twice about charging down the highway at full throttle when the mood hits them, and their third album, 2008's Conqueror, sees them shifting into fifth gear even more frequently as they idle along in first. Indeed, after peeling out of the driveway via the rollicking juggernaut of "Trapped in the Web," the trio repeatedly gallops into battle (see "Children of Satan," "The Machine"), amidst some midtempo marching ("Ice Worm"), and, yes, yes, sluggish doom crawls like the title cut and "To Kill a King." But whatever tempo they choose, the Gates of Slumber almost always pay out-and-out tribute (whether intentional or accidental, remains unclear) to the Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan — heck, any group led by the legendary Scott "Wino" Weinrich. So do countless other bands, mind you, but the Wino similarities found in the vocals and frenzied guitar solos tendered by GoS frontman Karl Simon make such comparisons inevitable — no matter how excellent his band's songs may be, when considered in a vacuum. If anything, Wino never had the patience, through all of his many projects and years of service, to concoct a multi-part colossus on the scale of Conqueror's closing "Dark Valley Suite," which revisits all of the avenues mentioned above, and then some, thanks to the softly atmospheric centerpiece, "Call of the Black Gods." And, once again, listeners unburdened by the knowledge of the Gates of Slumber's inspirational baggage will likely find nothing but a seriously engaging traditional heavy metal album in Conqueror.

Biography

Formed: Indianapolis, IN

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s

Although one wouldn't necessarily assume that Indiana would be the birthplace of a well-tuned doom metal outfit, perhaps it's important to take into consideration Indiana's disconnect from the rest of the pop market, and maybe the picture gets a little clearer. Hailing from the state's capital, the Gates of Slumber started making the slow, sludgy, methodical style of metal their bread and butter around 1998. Led by guitarist and vocalist Karl Simon, the Gates of Slumber -- the membership rounded...
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Conqueror, The Gates of Slumber
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