Review: Gatecreeper “Deserted” [Relapse records]

Review: Gatecreeper “Deserted” [Relapse records]

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Gatecreeper are a band that have a small surge of hype around them, and considering they’re coming to my home-town, I felt it my duty to look into them. Their second record Deserted is a specific slice of Swedish-style death metal despite being based out of the United States. They’ve got every trope; buzzing and crushing guitar tones, OSDM riffing, and an echo cast deep into the production. This style is something that I dig, despite an annoying bounce in the drum-tracks and small hints of polishing. Much like the horrid hangover I’m currently experiencing, Gatecreeper do not leave a good feeling in my gut.

While I wouldn’t say this is the worst thing on the planet, serviceable moments are minimal. “From The Ashes” boasts a strong riffing sequence. The tremolo and drum eruption at the end are easily the highest point, and let on a small taste of melancholy. One of the biggest issues with Deserted is that it offers nothing interesting. Spinning the same old wheel is fine, but it does need to stand out with something. “Puncture Wounds” suggests a slight change in direction by upping the energy levels following the empty title track. Sadly the vocals tarnish it, which is the second big issue here. They’re throaty, and seem caught in a state between “growl” and “yell” that comes off as an awkward hardcore-like outburst, growing tiresome quite quickly.

Which brings us to my third issue, that obvious hardcore influence. As the record progresses, this shows more and more to the point that when you reach “Absence Of Light,” it feels like a very different effort. That song is about as trudging as it gets. “Sweltering Madness” is another rough one, being a drawn-out mess of chugs, topped with unpleasant hacking outbursts.

Don’t read me wrong, this isn’t enough to make it a deathcore record, but I can’t say I like it much better either. There’s a lot of strong rhythmic presence, but it couldn’t hold my attention for very long and it slowly evolved towards a style I dislike. For no reason other than getting your curiosity fix, I do recommend checking this out (and hey, maybe you’ll call me crazy and love it). I’m sure they’ll also cast a fun presence in the event of the live performance. But as for an album that’s talked about in high regards, I was greatly disappointed.

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