Relative newcomers to the death metal scene, Arizona based five piece Gatecreeper stormed onto the stage in 2016 with their highly acclaimed debut album “Sonoran Deprivation”, immediately establishing themselves as one to watch with their modern take on good old fashioned American death metal, something their country has been doing well since the 1980s, having produced legendary acts and stalwarts of the genre such as Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, and the very band that supposedly gave their name to the genre itself – Death. Having already set the blood-soaked bar high, have Gatecreeper managed to produce a sophomore album worthy of following up to their first full-length?
This album is top quality death metal throughout, but standout tracks for me would be 'Deserted', 'Barbaric Pleasures' and 'Boiled Over.
Titular track “Deserted' opens nice and slowly, creating plenty of atmosphere with its creeping death and ominous melodies, before picking up into a mid-paced track with stomping rhythms and tense lead guitar work. Chase Mason's powerful vocals provide the rotting cherry on top.
'Barbaric Pleasures” displays top-notch riffs reminiscent of the old Swedish death metal masters Dismember and Entombed, all backed by great drum work and even more solid vocals.
“Boiled Over” gives us stompy death metal with classic lead guitars layered throughout. One listen and you'll have 'The sky...boiled over” stuck in your head repeating for days. Addictive death metal at its greatest.
'Deserted' is an album that feels both fresh and vital, yet true to its roots, evidencing that Gatecreeper are now a well established force in modern death metal, proudly sitting alongside other 'new generation' acts also hailing out of the US such as Gruesome, Creeping Death and Horrendous. 'Deserted' is a masterclass of modern death metal, showcasing the best it has to offer and proving that despite the name, death metal is far from dead. Just like back in the late 80s and early 90s, from sea to shining sea America is once again awash with some of the best death metal bands currently putting out records, and Gatecreeper are at the forefront. Far from being deserted, Gatecreeper may just find themselves surrounded with loyal fans at sold out shows the next time they tour. An immediate candidate for entry to my top 10 of 2019.