Friday, January 25, 2013

The Gates Of Slumber - The Awakening (Reissue)




Finally waveriders! This great album, the full-length debut of The Gates Of Slumber, was originally released by Final Chapter in 2004. Unfortunatley the label soon went under and this amazing piece of music has long since been out of print. But now Abyss Records is doing the world a huge favour and service by reissuing it with a bonus track and a different cover. Although the Ken Kelly-made new cover was actually used by Iron Kodex when they released The Awakening on vinyl a few years back.

Resurrection From The Underworld initiates this journey through prosecution, terror, execution and death...you know like life in general. This instrumental piece brings purgatory to mind, if there is such a place and leads quickly to the title track The Awakening(Interpolating The Wrath Of The Undead). Even though this track isn't very fast it's heavy, incredibly heavy and the band pummels me into the ground as evil arises. Karl Simon's voice has a beautiful desperation and urgency that completes the band's music perfectly.

The third chapter in this horror narrative is The Judge and evil rears it's ugly head even more in the disguise of a remorseless judge. And you can feel that when the band launches in to the song. Like someone on the verge of breaking down The Gates Of Slumber weaves back and forth in tempo creating feelings of despair and hopelessness. Karl's guitar playing is impeccable while Jason McCash's thunderous bass again pummels me into the ground with drummer Chuck Brown heaping even more misery on me....fantastic!!!

The Jury is an elongation of The Judge but the band ups the tempo a little bit, not too much because this is doom after all. And they are a tad more elaborate and steps out of the box in certain parts jamming out while the riffing is bone crushing.

Whereas The Jury and The Judge are extensions of each other the same goes for the next two tracks, Broken On The Wheel and The Executioner. Both are the fastest songs on the album and they lean more towards traditional heavy metal but of course the lyrics keeps it doomy indeed. In this two-part segment you see your life flashing before your eyes as all kinds of horror and torture are forced upon you until the axeman finally steps up and relieves you from your misery.

Blessed Pathway To Celestial Kingdom is the beginning of the end. Mainly a thing between Jason and Chuck this instrumental piece to me is when you die and your soul leaves on it's journey to wherever it goes when the body dies. It is slow and captivating, almost soothing and very beautiful. The Burial picks up right where Blessed Pathway To Celestial Kingdom left off and ends the original release. And it couldn't be more fitting than being laid to rest after such a brutal passing. The band brings down the tempo to just about funeral doom which further enhances one's passing.

The bonus track is called The Cloaked Figure and was intended to be on The Awakening but the band excluded in order for a rework of it. When it came time for that drummer Chuck Brown had left The Gates Of Slumber and the song was left unused. When Abyss Records approached them for this reissue the band decided that The Cloaked Figure should be brought back in it's original form.

Dear waveriders, yours truly was blessed enough to get my hands of an original copy of The Awakening before it sold out. Still I think it's great it's available again because more people should own this album. Although it was their first official release The Gates Of Slumber set the bar high for coming albums which they have managed to emulate and surpass each time but that's a different story. This as a stand-alone album is fantastic and since it was their debut that makes it even more better. Great stuff indeed!

--Swedebeast




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