The Gates Of Slumber Suffer No Guilt

After signing to Sweden newbie label I Hate and hanging ten on the new wave of doom, Indiana’s the Gates of Slumber teeter and wipe out on the uneven Suffer No Guilt, though they quickly surface and scramble back on their long boards for a big finish with dignity. Obviously progression was on their collective mind, but the first six tracks ("Angel of Death” to "Wyrmwood”) don’t sink in at all. Track seven, "Dweller in the Deep,” is really the only one that sounds like the traditional tGoS, as the previous cuts are more stoner-rock, leaning towards the poppier side of that subgenre, and not indicative of the band’s back catalogue. "Children of the Night” is a stellar acoustic interlude and the 20-minute "God Wills It” could be their best song yet. This epic cut has lots of variety: solid, mid-paced doom in the first half punctuated by a subtle, slightly acoustic middle, then they really crank it up at the end with better vocals from guitarist Karl Simon and more bass verve, making us forget that drummer Chris Gordon misses a few beats at the 18-minute mark. Eschewing the final track, the Tolkien-like "The Woe of Kings,” Suffer No Guilt would’ve made a great EP with some major pruning, though the Conan-esque art from Ken Kelly (Kiss’s Destroyer and Love Gun) will drive collectors wild. (I Hate Records)