I have mentioned on a couple of occasions that a lot of newer bands are playing older styles of metal these days. There are bands with more of a traditional metal style in the vein of Judas Priest, bands copping the sounds of the NWOBHM, of course there's the retro thrash metal movement, and then there are bands striving to sound like the early doom metal bands. The Gates of Slumber is one of the latter bands.
Knowing that the band is a traditional doom metal band immediately brings to mind a certain sound. The band definitely sounds like a mix between early Black Sabbath, Candlemass, and Pentagram. The songs have powerful riffs and are slower in tempo, for the most part.
Their last album, Conqueror, was one of my favorite albums from 2008. This one doesn't match up quite as well. The band has solidified their sound significantly, but the vocals are not as powerful and there are not as many great songs on it. I enjoy the album quite a bit. It just is not a step up from the last one. If anything, it's a slight step backwards.
Despite the slight decline, this is still a great album from this year. Traditional doom, when done right, is great and this band does do it right. They just didn't quite meet my expectations this time around.