Gatecreeper – An Unexpected Reality (Closed Casket Activities)

Friday, 29th January 2021
Rating: 8.5/10

Gatecreeper dropped a surprise on the metal community when they announced the release of An Unexpected Reality with no preceding announcements. Instead they chose to just let the music jump out and speak for itself, something that the release (not really an EP or LP in the traditional sense) is happy to do for the band. Sometimes it’s best to just roll with the punches and let the band take you where they want, with no prior expectations in place.

There’s two sides to this one, as the band has made clear with their announcement. An ‘A side’ of throttling speed, and a ‘B side’ of gloomy, crushing doom. Two extreme contrasts for the band for sure, but they both have their positives to show for themselves (and not a negative one in sight). The first seven of the eight total tracks go right for the bludgeoning. The scorching HM-2 rumbles and blitzkrieg riffs are an immediate gutpunch. It’s explosive, and most importantly, its still fun – considering the tracks are about 1-minute each. They waste no time getting to the point and delivering an enjoyable and raucous riff that surprisingly sticks with you. There’s the rock ‘n’ rolling “Sick of Being Sober” and explosive bursts/groove of “Amputation” if you need two examples. But the one extended doomy cut, “Emptiness,” might just be one of the band’s best songs to date. A slow, plodding track that cuts deep with its isolating crunch and dirges, the dreary melodies stand out the further you go into the song. Some surprisingly emotive bits on the second half, such as the sullen lead guitar and melodies, really provide an experience that even sometimes a longer EP or album don’t provide.

An Unexpected Reality is an experimental release from Gatecreeper that works. There’s no predetermined pathway, and those who seek it for the visceral ‘A side’ may be impressed at just how well the gloomy “Emptiness” works for the band. A must if you enjoy the band or want a surprisingly varied piece of extreme metal.

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