Gatecreeper’s new record, Deserted, wants to break the listener. It expands on their mental anguish from previous releases and opts in to form new, metallic overcoats that shine brightly against the blackened night. Deserted is less of an easing into the torment and more right into the punishing with 11 tracks over 43-minutes of utter dusted hell.
Surprisingly, against all the weight that is stacked against the listener and the five-piece of executioners, Gatecreeper can be extremely exciting in a fight for life. The determination that springs from Chase Mason on vocals, Sean Mears on the bass, and Matt Arrebollo on the percussion. Then as Eric Wagner and Nate Garrett cover the guitars, the string ensemble is a complete punch to the stomach that flairs along next to this rhythmic ride.
The opening track “Deserted” is a frequently revisited opening marker to this crawl through the sand that builds gracefully as far as death metal goes. Most of the beauty that stems from Gatecreeper is their ability to showcase both a crushing and pulverizing crunch of strength, but at the same time, they are unified and identifiable by each members addition to the record. The lyrical output is daunting but fits incredibly well as one conglomerate piece to this puzzle. Beginning, “Bare and forsaken, left in the darkness holding on. Life has ran its course, the final human hour swallowed by time,” to then using this hammer and anvil tactic to slam the instrumentation over the screams are textbook death.
As the album progresses into “Everlasting,” Gatecreeper becomes completely engrossed by this arching chord structure that is essentially a smack through these quick double strikes. “Everlasting” then goes into a stiff-armed approach of harsh growls that stay more like a lumbering giant rather than a rush down. As each track passes, the unrelenting push becomes clearer and clearer as if it was a diamond in the rough. With Deserter, the lyrics are always a foreboding monster that seems to creep in the darkness, almost ready to pounce by the end of it all. “Bleed for your master, free yourself from apathy. Disdain boiling over, visions of hatred in my stare,” describes Mason on “Boiled Over.” The shouts and screams of agony are an auditory torture chamber with no real end in sight.
When Gatecreeper finally pushes into the beyond unknown, Deserted continues to echo even after the screams have ceased. From the necropolis of a cover work, the desert reigns around the listener, and one final knife through the cranium, Gatecreeper takes prolonged death to another plane of existence.