To commemorate five years of Decibel Flexis we've asked Decibel writers to write a review-length tribute to their favorite disc. First up is The Gates Of Slumber's entry, a remake of their early track "The Jury."
When you think about the Flexi series it's easy to think about the novelties. The novelty aspect of the discs is one of the reasons they are so popular. In many ways, the Flexi is a throwback to a time when necessity and threadbare budgets meant bands had to release their work piecemeal (unlike now, when you can release a discography on Bandcamp). It's also a gauntlet to participating bands: how can you make a few minutes especially meaningful to a diverse listening audience? Or how do you just confuse them? So we've already seen many novelties in the series: an EP (Iron Reagan), holiday-themed songs (Agoraphobic Nosebleed), unreleased live recordings of studio tracks handed out to lucky concertgoers (Pig Destroyer/our 100th-issue concert) and more to come in 2016.
None of these do the trick for me like The Gates Of Slumber rerecording their early track "The Jury," released six issues into the Flexi series. The 33 1-3 hearkens back to what 45s were meant for; presenting one incredible song so it could be played and replayed on your turntable. "The Jury" was one of Gates' best tracks in a notable career and the remake is handled with more aplomb than the first version; the band became that much better over the course of seven years since the original was recorded. Karl Simon plays a heartfelt solo and Jason McCash's bass is especially buttery in the mix. And although the remix seems a bit "clean" for a doom band it allows you to appreciate details often lost in the sonic din.
"The Jury" is a bittersweet entry in that it's one of the last great moments for a band that had an unfortunate end. Simon shared with us last year how McCash eventually succumbed to drug addiction in the band's waning days. "The Jury," however, remains a testament to one of the best 21st-century doom bands and a hallmark in our series.