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Gatecreeper - Deserted

by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 20 October 2019, 9:36 AM

 GATECREEPER is a Death Metal band from Arizona, formed in 2013.  “Deserted,” is the band’s second full length; they have also released a live album plus numerous splits and EP’s.  The band’s overall sound is brutal and dirty—an old school flair with an intense modern Death Metal sound.  As such, a grueling, atmospheric fills their sound but it isn’t overdone—this is very much a riff focused Death Metal album.  And the tone of those riffs—wow!  Eric and Nate definitely know how Death Metal riff are supposed to sound.

What I really liked about the record was it doesn’t find something that works and stick with it—they don’t always play slow or too fast.  The tempos are varied and the songs change up enough to keep you interested all the way to the end. The first track, “Deserted,” just sounds sinister and foreboding; the guitar leads really set in this sickly atmosphere. The rhythm guitar weighs it all down with a blanket of heaviness—this is one of the more intense Death Metal albums I’ve heard this year because the riffs are just so goddamn crushing. Vocalist Chase arrives around the 1:30 mark, and he fills the gap between DEATH’S Chuck Schuldiner and ASPYX’s Martin Van Drunning. His Death growls are perfectly pitched between low and high growls.  Despite their heavy-handed nature, the guitars aren’t afraid to let a slight amount of melody through such as around the 2:54 mark briefly before a head banging riffs breaks through.

From The Ashes,” opening riff sets the tone for the rest of the song but it is Matt’s drumming that holds the song up—intense double bass picks everything up in the song’s burgeoning moments. Later, his crisp snare attack and impeccable timing on the cymbals round out the rest of the song.  This reveals another factor of the album: every member of the band is just so solid at what they do.  This is only their second album, but the five members are just so in tune with each other and play with a wisdom far beyond the band’s age.

Everlasting,” has one of the more intense openings with riffs that just beat you down to the ground.  The growls pick you back up again before, once again, you are dropped back to reality with pounding bass guitar from SEAN, who gives the MVP for this track.  The tempo changes close to the end of the song, with the last minute being this slow, unstoppable Death Metal jam. There are just so many great riffs in this album—every riff in “Barbaric Pleasures,” is pure evil and I’m convinced it might be the soundtrack to hell. At least I’ll have something to listen to when I get there, ha.

In Chains,” is a three minutes and eleven seconds example of how to write Death Metal in 2019.  Dizzying array of riffs do a frontal assault on the senses, in what has to be one the most intense tracks on the album.  The final track, “Absence of Light,” is a sweltering number the band belts out with immense intensity.  This is a track that is twisted in form, dark in execution, and perfectly titled. In my humble opinion, straight ahead Death Metal seems like it should be easy to do but so many bands can’t pull it off–GATECREEPER definitely do.  There isn’t a huge amount of variety here nor is there anything that will make you say, “Whoa, where did THAT come from?” but if you want to hear some Old School straight up Death Metal, then you aren’t looking for those particular elements anyway.  Highly recommended.

Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Deserted
2. Puncture Wounds
3. From The Ashes
4. Ruthless
5. Everlasting
6. Barbaric Pleasures
7. Sweltering Madness
8. Boiled Over
9. In Chains
10. Absence of Light
11. Anxiety
Chase Mason – Vocals
Eric Wagner – Guitars
Sean Mears – Bass
Matt Arrebollo – Drums
Nate Garret - Guitars
Record Label: Relapse Records


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