The Gates of Slumber
Live at the Troubadour in
West Hollywood, CA
June 6th, 2011
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
The Gates of Slumber are a fairly recent band to arrive on my horizon but I was instantly drawn to the doom filled metal ploddings which unmistakably bring to mind Black Sabbath and Type O Negative which are two of my favorite bands.
Their lyrics are fairly dark and the music is filled with psychedelic touches while retaining a forward momentum that keeps you constantly moving your head with the twists it takes.
The band is a three piece out of the midwest and consists of a heavy rhythm section of substantial bass and drums and then the singer, who also plays guitar, fills in the band with an Iommi influence in the guitar realm but then also brings vocals that as mentioned, bring to mind such greats as earliest era Ozzy, Peter Steele and even a touch of Glenn Danzig and in my book this is seriously heavy praise. I only have the newest release, "The Wretch" and it is a great album that will sustain all the fans of the above mentioned metal masters.
I know for sure they did "Bastards Born", "The Scourge of Darkness, and "Day of Farewell" off the new album. I also know they did some older material such as a song called "Ice Worm" which upon first hearing, had me sold that their older material was as awesome as the new album. A huge portion of the audience knew the material and head banged and swayed with the constant churning music.
It was an interesting crowd as I frequent Black, Death, Power, Classical, and even Industrial and Gothic Metal shows and I have never seen any of these people before so this was living proof that there is an underground below the underground in Los Angeles and these fellow "Wretches" came out in force in support of these doom metallers.
I heard other members of the crowd throw around the term "Stoner Metal" but I don't think that is appropriate for these guys. They have a lot more in common with the Goth undertones of Type O than anything hippie related and while their song structures feature long running-lengths, indulgent but relevant guitar solos, and a strong atmospheric ambiance, I think their subject matter is in line with the doom and goth strengths that the first Black Sabbath album laid out and that many bands have carried over.
They have pretty damn cool lyrics that invoke Lovecraftian themes as well as more accessible themes of rejection, isolation, and insanity (which I guess is pretty much the same thing as Lovecraftian but without monsters from beyond space or timeless gods resting at the sea bottom).
On stage the first impression is one of facial hair. These guys have all been growing theirs for quite some years while honing their chops. The Troubadour does not give much room for the band to move around but I think even a bigger stage would have seen these guys fairly planted. The singer had his hands full, literally blasting out lead while singing. The bassist was whipping his hair all over the place and probably would have moved around more if able and of course the drummer is rooted to the spot on his kit.
The audio was spot on and they sounded exactly like they do on disc. I had a great time at the show and sang along with all the songs I knew and nodded along to the ones I didn't. I highly recommend checking their latest disc out, at least go to their myspace and listen to the songs they have there for a starter as they have a few from the new one plus a couple of their older favorites which they also did live.
I would have to say though, these guys are not light-hearted or whimsical even though at times their songs take on that cool jam approach to winding musical endeavors, they stick in the doom filled gloom of chaos and sorrow and this suits my tastes perfectly.
They were in direct support of UK metaller's Orange Goblin who have a number of similarities music-wise and together made a great billing. Overall it was a great show and I highly recommend checking them out.
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