The Gates Of Slumber Conqueror

For the last decade-plus, Indianapolis’s the Gates of Slumber have been quietly crafting solid old-school doom albums, EPs, splits and compilation tracks. Conqueror, their third full-length, is their first domestic release and by far their finest hour. Recorded on analog by the esteemed Sanford Parker (Buried at Sea, Minsk, Pelican), the album has a palpable gravity almost unheard since the heyday of Saint Vitus. "Trapped in the Web” chronicles a head-on collision of High on Fire and the Sword, while the title track channels Vitus through tempo changes and chordal twists. "Eyes of the Liar” spotlights Karl Simon’s most wailing solo committed to tape, and the galloping "Children of Satan” is redolent of American heavy metal revivalists Twisted Tower Dire. The colossal, 16-minute "The Dark Valley Suite” has the feel of a Reverend Bizarre epic but is delivered with a practiced, Yes-influenced hand. Divided into four parts, the suite trudges up craggy mountains of doom, glides through light years of space, à la Rush’s "Cygnus X-1,” and hails down upon the cracked Earth with brimstone-encrusted guitar leads while Simon explores his a cappella side. With Conan on the cover, Conqueror will surely have the lasting effect that TGOS have wanted for their entire career. (Profound Lore)