Published Oct 01, 2019After their explosive debut full-length, 2016's Sonoran Depravation, which skyrocketed them to the forefront of the metal community, Gatecreeper make their next move with Deserted, which sees the Arizona desert dealers further solidify their sound, digging their feet deeper into the sand.
Those following the band will surely feel a sense of welcome familiarity in the caveman riffage and lumbering grooves that Gatecreeper harness. Songs like "From the Ashes" and "Barbaric Pleasures" each build on distinct and characterful tempo and riff sections that allow them to stand out amidst the hefty mass of Deserted. However, there is a noticeable leaning into the band's doom tendencies to a greater degree, evident from the start in opener, "Deserted," and which takes hold in full on "Absence of Light."
Deserted actually feels somewhat slower than its predecessor, as content to let the sawblade guitar tone linger in the air for long stretches on songs, like "Boiled Over" or "Sweltering Madness," as it is to erupt in a stampede of feral violence on the decimating "In Chains." Doom sensibilities have been key to Gatecreeper's sound from the beginning, but arguably never as much as on Deserted, and at times it serves to weigh a song down more than bolster it.
Rather than expand their sound, Gatecreeper hold fast to their tastes and seem to grow inward. The band retain their dangerous talent at writing memorable sections, but not always whole songs. They might throw some listeners off with just how sluggish the pace gets, at times, but remains worthwhile and recognizable as the Gatecreeper we know. (Relapse)