Living Gate’s extreme devotion to classic death metal on burly display with debut EP ‘Deathlust’

Photo by Gilles Demolder

As ugly and gruesome as death metal is as an art form, it sure develops people with outpouring emotion for the genre. It’s funny that something that can be outright disgusting both musically and topically, can conjure such joy and love, but it’s also what makes this style so much fun.

The folks who make up new death metal unit Living Gate know that very well. They’re all in notable other bands themselves such as YOB, Oathbreaker, Wiegedood, and Amenra but they’ve used their debut EP “Deathlust” to express their devotion to death metal, and this is five tracks of the good, gross stuff that landed so hard in the early 1990s that still resonates today. The band—Aaron Rieseberg, Lennart Bossu, Wim Coppers, Levy Seynaeve—hammers through this thing with mucky violence and aggression, paying homage to the sounds that are part of their creative upbringing and formation and delivering their own take on things. It’s short but sweet, but they get in and get the job done, leaving you no doubt that they mean it and their intentions are pure. And nasty.

“The Delusion of Consciousness” starts things in the pit of mucky death as the growls gurgle, and the place ignites. Maniacal howls and guitar sizzle combine as the playing feels scathing and mean, and things halt for a second before the death is piled up again on the other side right to its finish. “Roped” blasts open as the playing mystifies before the track rips out its own guts. The track turns sickening and the growls feel engorged as things speed back up, and the paint is peeled from the walls. The title track has corrosive growls and intricate thrashing as the leads swim through the muck. Mashing misery slices through and the leads take off, while the back end leaves thick ash behind. “Heaven Ablaze” blasts right into intricate hell blazing while the pace twists and turns, and guttural growls add to the punishment. There’s a thick old school death metal vibe creeping while the playing smashes through boundaries and gives off shrapnel. “Living Gate” ends the collection, which I’m not sure is a band anthem in the vein of “Iron Maiden” or “Motorhead,” but it’s atmospherically aggressive as it begins landing blows, and the soloing heats up and boils over. Drums explode and wreak havoc while the playing is swallowed into a strange echo chamber before clean guitars drip away.

“Deathlust” is a tremendous dose of classic death metal that should make anyone whose roots go back that far perversely happy. Living Gate have crafted a vile, disgusting love letter to the bands and music that have helped create who they are creatively and have given back to that swamp. This is a fun, fiery mini release that hopefully will keep building toward a full-length effort.

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