Gatecreeper - An Unexpected Reality review

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Band: Gatecreeper
Album: An Unexpected Reality
Release date: January 2021

01. Starved
02. Sick Of Being Sober
03. Rusted Gold
04. Imposter Syndrome
05. Amputation
06. Depraved Not Deprived
07. Superspreader
08. Emptiness

Just when I thought I had the first half of January reviews planned, Gatecreeper had to come out with a surprise release that shakes up their established sound.

I like Gatecreeper. I like this brand of nu-Entombed-core buzzsaw riff death metal, and I'm glad that Gatecreeper got all this attention. But even though I liked their last album, Deserted, I was starting to preemptively doubt that anything they'll do from then on would really impress me beyond "this is decent death metal that does its job". Even though I noted in my review of it that Deserted expanded the range of bands that Gatecreeper emulated into some more interesting territories than just Entombed and Bolt Thrower, those changes were still pretty subtle, even if welcomed. Well, there's nothing subtle about An Unexpected Reality.

First up, it's a 17 minute EP, so it must be pretty special if it had big enough of an impact for me to so readily jump out to review it given what I just said about my previous expectations of Gatecreeper. Here's the deal. It's a double sided album supposedly inspired by Black Flag's My War, so the first side is punkier and the second side is doomier. But, as noted, nothing is subtle about An Unexpected Reality, not even how uncanny the band photo for this release is. Instead of just having their style be slightly embued with punk and doom influences, Gatecreeper go all the way. The first seven songs are each between 30 second and barely a few seconds over a minute, while the last track is 11 minutes long, longer than the rest of the EP combined.

Hell, I wouldn't have minded a 17 minutes long grind EP or a 17 minutes doom EP from Gatecreeper, but we get both of them in one. This might be unappealing to some people who'd rather have the two sides separate, but having them together makes the contrast more striking, especially when each side contrasts their core sound so much. Of course it's not just that the track lengths have been cut or expanded so vigorously, but the grind parts take their usual buzzsaw sound and remove so much of the fat that all that remains is muscular powerviolence anger, with such cathartic titles as "Sick Of Being Sober"; while "Emptiness" doesn't just increase the "doom" part of "doom death metal", but moves the whole thing into funeral doom territories, but funeral doom that is played with the intensity and gravitas known to Gatecreeper.

The band made it certain that this release won't necessarily mean a new direction for the band, just them flexing their muscles during COVID times to make sure that their toolbox is even larger when the time comes for a full length proper. But now I hope that next Gatecreeper records make best use of what they experimented with here, as the band proved to be able to be above-decent at more than just playing buzzsaw death metal.


Written on 14.01.2021 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 59 users
15.01.2021 - 00:53
Enjoyable and surprising as you say. Very clever release on their part.

For what it's worth, the review gets an extra point from me solely for calling "Emptiness" doom death metal as opposed to death doom metal, which is the term every clueless reviewer calls this on the internet. Great song, too.
15.01.2021 - 09:01
Written by nikarg on 15.01.2021 at 00:53

For what it's worth, the review gets an extra point from me solely for calling "Emptiness" doom death metal as opposed to death doom metal, which is the term every clueless reviewer calls this on the internet. Great song, too.

I learned from the best
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
15.01.2021 - 11:48
Coconut Racecar
I loooooooooooove that guitar tone. Reminds me of my favorite band, Grave. Which I wish would release some more music D:

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