Released: 2016, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Not sure we need another early '80s-style Swedish death metal sounding band - much less one from the most un-Swedish of locales, Arizona. But obviously the guys in Gatecreeper would argue otherwise.
Proof of that is the band's full-length debut, Sonoran Deprivation, which recalls vintage Entombed, Dismember and Unleashed, with a dose of old Bolt Thrower chug thrown in for good measure. Its reverent tone is matched only by the band's seeming disinterest for doing much to make themselves sound like anything more than an “early '80s-style Swedish death metal sounding band,” which is a shame because they're too young to be that lazy.
The crusty riffs, buzz-sawing guitar tones, gritty, Sunlight Studio-like production and bulldozing D-beat/double-bass tempos that put Gothenburg on the metal map way back when are all there in abundance. Some of the moody guitar lines even sound like they were lifted straight from Entombed's Clandestine.
Other American bands that have approximated or appropriated the Swedish sound – notably Trap Them and Black Breath – have at least given it their own distinctive stamp. But other than a few doomier tracks like “Sterilizing,” “Grotesque Operations” or “Patriarchal Grip,” and frontman Chase H. Mason's guttural, muttering vocals – which recall Obituary's John Tardy at his most cryptic, circa Slowly We Rot/Cause Of Death - Gatecreeper rarely move beyond mere mimicry.
Aside from those mentioned above, the songs are all rather by the numbers and there's little here that you haven't heard before from someone who was actually part of the original scene – or who have rehashed it all already. So other than the fact that Sonoran Deprivation offers a bit more clarity and punch than the old-school originals, thanks to modern recording technology, there's not much going for it.