Remember in the early 1990s when many of the Century Media and Earache Records bands created sounds that were unique and consequently influential? Take Entombed, Unleashed, Dismember and Grave to name a few. It was that Swedish-born, raw, down-tuned gritty sound that was truly distinctive. If you grew up then, you know what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, the character of those recordings were often met with lackluster production.
At some point, bands popped up over the years who either tried to mimic the sound or keep it alive but with their own stamp on the music. Who might have guessed one band classified in the latter, would be from Arizona of all places?
Enter Relapse Records’ Gatecreeper who, as of last October released their first full-length album, Sonoran Depravation.
The influence from the likes of the aforementioned Swedish acts is undeniable. But here is what differentiates Gatecreeper from the “ever-flowing stream” of copy-cats; the sound is much crisper perhaps due to significantly better studio technology & production. As much as I love Entombed and Dismember, I’ll go so far as to say that Gatecreeper is perhaps even a bit more diverse regarding tempos and chord changes. They are also not at break-neck speed during the entire record as some bands continue to attempt.
Sonoran Depravation maintains a healthy dose of crushing death metal but also with more mid-tempo paces and an occasional doom influence. They are respectful of the sound, but Gatecreeper puts their own stamp on it. We owe the band Thanks for keeping this sound alive, even giving it a new breath. Sonoran Depravation clocks in at just over 30 minutes. Consider it in some ways like the Reign in Blood of death metal…straight, to the point, no fat and great from the first note to the last.
Gatecreeper will be touring the states supporting Pallbearer in May and June. Check their Facebook page for exact dates. This is your chance to show these guys some respect…grab a copy of Sonoran Depravation and a T-shirt or whatever else they bring with them. On second thought, don’t wait for the tour to buy the album.
Look forward to an interview with these guys (fingers-crossed) after their St. Louis, Missouri show.