2016’s Sonoran Depravation and the band’s split release with Iron Reagan in 2018 were both extremely enjoyable, revealing a talent for old-school death metal. Deserted cements this and pushes further, providing 40 minutes of punishing and engrossing tunes.
Featuring members of Spirit Adrift, Gatecreeper’s sound mixes Bolt Thrower’s captivating groove with the Swedish and Floridian styles, resulting in songs that take many strengths from their influences, and few weaknesses. Add to this core other elements that can be detected in the band’s sound, including classic metal, hardcore, sludge, and doom, and you have a record that is rooted in old-school death metal, but isn’t completed limited by it.
Filthy riffs, merciless melodies, and charismatic vocals power their way through the album, and these are all deployed in multiple head-spinning ways, (speaking of the singer; his vocals have further developed, and he boasts a more well-rounded barked growl on this release). Each track here may have the same component ingredients, but each is recognisable for what it is in its own right, and works its own foul magic with the base style. The band forge all of the above into songs that are contagious in their ability to infect with addictive riffs and moreish melodies.
Gatecreeper’s songwriting is effortlessly enjoyable, employing just the right balance between instant appeal gratification and longer lasting substance. The traditional song-based approach to structuring and dynamics is timeless and effective, and just one of the reasons why Deserted is as enjoyable as it is to listen to.
A masterclass of old-school death metal.