Gatecreeper – Deserted (Relapse)

Thursday, 3rd October 2019
Rating: 8.5/10

A band that has been one of the more buzzworthy of the ‘new’ death metal acts, it hasn’t take Gatecreeper much time to really spread their wings and conquer the underworld. Their debut full-length release, Sonoran Deprivation, they proved that they were the real deal after some notable shorter releases. Deserted adds to the band’s resume in ways that showcases some branching out while still delivering a caustic slab of extreme metal.

What worked best for Gatecreeper last time was that even despite the notable HM-2 crunch that came with the act, they didn’t appear to be ‘just another’ old school death metal act. Their impressive production, which gave them a different feel, also appears with Deserted, and keeps that old school/primitive angle while still making sure that everything can be heard. Likewise, one thing that they have stepped up a bit more is the doomier side of the band. While there are still some excellent straight-forward bangers like “Puncture Wound” and “Barbaric Pleasure,” which excel in their own right due to a nice combination of groovy mid-tempo and a knack for melodies, there’s more to the band. Closer “Absence of Light” is quite memorable for its extended use of gloomy melodies and slower tempos that weave in some impressive melodies. Other cuts like “Boiled Over” lend a more plodding, Obituary-esque crawl into the mix, and the title track eloquently manages to swirl together some thick chugs in with some high-octane riffage.

Grooves, speed runs, lumbering riffs – Gatecreeper manage to capture it all as they prove that you don’t have to rely on velocity all the time as a death metal act. They’ve really managed to establish themselves as a more unique entity within the ‘old school’ movement with their attention to details like melody and doom, which makes Deserted an even more treasured release in the midst of the fall deluge.

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