Astute metal pundits have been tipping Gatecreeper for glory for some time now, not least due to the sand-ravaged brilliance of full length debut Sonoran Depravation, a record whose mid-paced ultra-violence struck a diabolical chord with the wider metal community as a whole and saw frothing plaudits from such extreme metal dignitaries as Cannibal Corpse and Max Cavalera. Consequently, fan expectations are unusually high this time round, but Deserted delivers once again, emphasising a self-evident truth that Gatecreeper, for all their shrewdly dynamic detours, are never better than when harnessing their all-important knack for stuffing generous fistfuls of riffs and choruses down your lug ‘oles.
Unhindered by lofty concepts and emboldened by their unlikely success, Deserted reeks of victory, it’s ‘mount the battlements and proclaim war’ approach built on a brusque simplicity which, especially on the likes of ‘Everlasting’ and a colossal ‘From The Ashes’, recalls the pioneering muscularity of Bolt Thrower and the oozing menace of Obituary. Indeed, the band churn out jagged, marauding death metal grooves with the casual finesse of war torn but exuberant veterans, each track espousing all the subtly of a runaway siege train, even when the spiralling, Paradise Lost-eque guitar melodies emerge during ‘Boiled Over’, providing something of a morbid undercurrent to the albums rippling air of supremacy.
Crucially, it is Gatecreeper’s scalpel keen song-writing, with all the brains and sharpness that discerning metal fans demand, that lies at the heart of Deserted‘s success; a focus on verse/chorus structure perhaps earning a wider appeal than their peers. Add to this an immaculate production that more than enables Gatecreeper to accurately replicate their ferocious live incarnation, adding that necessary low-end oomph and glistening clarity, every last note and frothing warthog grunt explodes from the speakers. It’s uniformly brutal and stirring stuff, propelled along with tireless energy and the kind of vicious momentum that more studious and precise death metal bands consistently fail to generate. These Arizonians are already beginning to sound like a metal institution, and Deserted is another undeniable triumph.
Deserted is out 4th October and can be purchased here.
Words: Tony Bliss