Gatecreeper’s 2016 debut album Sonoran Deprivation, caused a bit of a stir as Relapse Records signed and released a US based death metal album after a few years of lagging behind in the death metal arena. It was a solid, near great album of Swedish styled lumbering death/doom, and the follow up, Deserted follows suite, maybe with even more of an emphasis on slower, mid paced, death doom pacing.

Again armed with a Ryam Bram/Kurt Ballou production and mix, Deserted sounds huge, even more so as the band slows down and delivers more controlled mid paced rumbling. The HM2 mid range lumber is heavy as hell as the band still culls from Wolverine Blues era Entombed or Entrails mixed with slower doom death elements of say Vastum ,Acephalix and occasionally, Bolt Thrower.

The 10 songs rarely break rank, which makes the latter parts of the album seem lazy to the casual listener, but those who fully enjoy this sort of patient, trundling rumble will  bask in the album’s persistent gait. There are a few d-beat canters here and there such as “Puncture Wounds” , “Barbaric Pleasures” or “In Chains”. But for the most part, the album is more effective with the likes of “From the Ashes”, pummeling “Ruthless”, thunderous “Everlasting”,  “Boiled Over” or “Sweltering Madness”, where things slow down to a doomy mid range plod with a few bursts or urgency mingled in, deliver punishing restrained grooves in spades.

Closer  “Absence of Light” is virtually a pure doom metal track, complete with somber overlaying lead work, and I think I’d like to hear this sound developed more in the next album and grow as one of the US’s growing death metal bands.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 9th, 2019


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