ReviewsGatecreeper – Dark Superstition (Nuclear Blast)

Gatecreeper – Dark Superstition (Nuclear Blast)

It’s a story as old as time. How many artists have you seen in the metal landscape that make impressive debut records, transitions in the second full-length, only to release a premiere product for the third album? Arizona death metal group Gatecreeper arrives at this juncture in their already buzzworthy position through Dark Superstition – landing over the course of their eleven-year career solid tour slots with Cannibal Corpse, Power Trip, Obituary, and Municipal Waste among others. Moving over to Nuclear Blast at this juncture, they also enlisted Dismember drummer Fred Estby to work on pre-production elements to refine the attack on these ten tracks. The results speak to a solid balance between established death metal hallmarks as well as adding melodic, catchy gothic/rock aspects to encompass a wider array of influences from the 80’s and 90’s next to the savage Swedish meets US-like finesse mainframe.

Check out the mid-tempo guitar riff that circulates within “The Black Curtain” where guitarists Eric Wagner and Israel Garza channel their inner Paradise Lost-like affinities circa Icon or Draconian Times, while the follow-up “Masterpiece of Chaos” hits like a savage chainsaw, the deadly growls of Chase H. Mason providing perfect terror elements to the Dismember meets Entombed-like atmosphere musically. Lyrically touching upon the supernatural, divination, fear of the unknown, and trust in magic/chance with Chase’s only personal experiences, most of the listeners will find substance they can relate to through the faster “A Chilling Aura” or head smasher “Mistaken for Dead” where the pummeling double kick action from Matt Arrebollo next to d-beat foundational work should vault pit goers into a frenzy. Most of the songs quickly drive through in a focused, economical fashion – leaving the doomy closer “Tears Fall From the Sky” at almost six-minutes the lone long epic cut. The melodic guitar aspects weaved into a monumental rhythm template gives Chase the chance to channel all aspects of his John Tardy-esque meets Dan Swano-ish delivery with some sadistic growls and spacious screams to full effect, the circular cultural instrumental segments heightening the slower headbang factor to make this a future Gatecreeper classic.

Recording the album at God City Studios in Salem, Massachusetts with Kurt Ballou (Converge), he also would mix the record to ensure this bold, sonic aspect that is crisp, clear, yet never sacrificing any iota of heaviness. Dark Superstition represents the best Gatecreeper album of an already solid career – hopefully one that attains a status that inspires others to push limits, create freely, and bring more followers into the fold.

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