Surprise! It’s death! Gatecreeper suddenly return with fast, slow sides on ‘An Unexpected Reality’

So, I’m looking at the latest issue of Decibel with Nervosa on the front cover (more on them later this week), and I turn the magazine over and see the back, which appears to indicate there’s new Gatecreeper music in the works? There’s no label info or a date, but hey, the prospect was exciting, and so it piqued my interest. Nice work, advertising!

Anyway, a couple weeks later I get an email about a surprise Gatecreeper record, pulling that goddamn Krallice trick of expecting money from me on demand and, of course, getting it. Yes, there’s a new Gatecreeper record called “An Unexpected Reality,” but it’s not necessarily containing what you think it does. That’s not a bad thing. Look, we’re still in a pandemic, and this band got to work, coming up with tracks that are dramatically shorter and a little rougher. But instead of releasing a track here and there, they decided to put it all together on this record, that has a fast side and a slow side. The band—vocalist Chase Mason, guitarists Eric Wagner and Israel Garza, bassist Sean Mears, and drummer Metal Matt—mashed their hardcore-fed death metal bursts on the first side, which is faster, and they hold off the 11-minute doom mauler, the slower side, to smother you into your final resting spot. It’s an exercise in opposition, and it’s a really enthralling release that is landing when we needed it most. When things are the most fucked they’ve ever been.

“Starved” gets things started as thick death is creeping as the track grinds hard and the shrieks and growls combine to land damaging blows. “Sick of Being Sober” blasts open with a menacing hardcore vibe that mashes bodies and threatens safety, ripping past you and barreling into “Rusted Gold” and its sludgy heap of death. The track is blistering and sinks its teeth into you as the growls scar before the track bows out. “Imposter Syndrome” is gloomy as hell before it breaks into thick terror and punishing fury, making your vision go blurry as you head into “Amputation” that instantly drills at your teeth. Belchy growls and a menacing terror go all in and flatten during its quick burst, paving the way for “Depraved Not Deprived” that delivers punchy riffs and lurching vocals, crushing vital organs in the process. “Superspreader” has a grindcore assault and gruff vocals, smashing its way through and leaving bloody trails in the dirt. Closer “Emptiness” runs 11:06, making it a few minutes longer than the seven previous tracks combined. It’s morbidly sorrowful and deeply doomy as growls buzz, and the solemnity thickens. Eventually things get misty and strange as humidity collects, and the growls scrape trails in the earth. The music turns atmospheric and chilling, trickling toward an awakening with glorious leads, shrieks raining fire, and everything is buried in a tomb of smoke.

Gatecreeper’s surprise “An Unexpected Reality” not only sums up perfectly the reality we’re all living in its title, but the panicked fury is something that’s likely permanently painted all over our psyches now. I’m not sure if this new approach to their sound is a permanently shift or just what they needed to express on this release, but it’s refreshing and deadly. This is an early burst out of the gates for 2021, and it’s setting the perfect tone for a time period we hope to reclaim as our own.

For more on the band, go here:

To buy the album, go here:

For more on the label, go here:

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