Death metal heavyweights, Gatecreeper, have managed to break the “sophomore slump” facade by expanding on their grinding Swedish HM-2 driven hardcore sound found on 2016’s “Sonoran Depravation.”
Now three years later on “Deserted” they found a formula to deliver the brutal unrelenting drones into an accessible package with catchy choruses and searing buzzsaw riffs, melodic enough to introduce newcomers into the genre while retaining the ferocity and aggression of their forebears.
“That’s no mirage, it’s metal by death … No blast beats here, folks, just sandblasted brutality …,” stated NPR.
Their third release for renowned metal label, Relapse, sees the band co-producing alongside audio engineer Ryan Bram. It also sees the return of Kurt Ballou at the board mixing this 44 minute project.
The title track showcases their Bolt Thrower-influence in full force with a pummeling sludge intro that blooms into a mid-tempo, D-Beat rhythm. It oversees guitarists Nate Garret and Eric Wagner trading off soaring solos inspired by melodic death metal for the first time.
“The LP is consistent in its dreary tone for the most part, allowing it to emit a tremendous sense of atmosphere,” stated Consequence of Sound.
“Everlasting” can stand toe to toe with classics of the genre like Grave and Entombed, by delivering a galloping start-stop passage that speeds into a pummeling double pedal fury.
The song then crescendos into the records most exciting moment of the album where singer Chase Mason delivers a banshee scream, throwing listeners off guard that are used to his Cookie Monster-esque gutturals.
The records apocalyptic and melancholic filled atmosphere does a lot to make up for the fact that despite the savage tones and cool nuances here and there, it just doesn’t compare to the more bombastic and out there passages found on their debut.
“Brutalizing, triumphant, and lean,” stated No Echo.
“Deserted” is a perfect example that death metal can be marketed to the masses without sacrificing the abrasiveness aesthetic of the genre and still be exciting enough for listeners already within.