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Gatecreeper - Dark Superstition review

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Band: Gatecreeper
Album: Dark Superstition
Style: Death metal
Release date: May 2024

01. Dead Star
02. Oblivion
03. The Black Curtain
04. Masterpiece Of Chaos
05. Superstitious Visions
06. A Chilling Aura
07. Caught In The Treads
08. Flesh Habit
09. Mistaken For Dead
10. Tears Fall From The Sky

Something wicked this way comes.

Gatecreeper have come a long way from their self-released demo a decade ago, working their way up from underground sensation status; with a series of acclaimed releases that have highlighted their continuous evolution, the band's growth has been more leaps and bounds than creeping. Dark Superstition is a bold exclamation mark that serves to demarcate the band's ascension to the upper echelons in the death metal genre that the band now occupy.

With a deft mix of hardcore leanings with traditional death metal, Gatecreeper manage to maintain a balance between old school sensibilities and modern twists that will please fans of death metal old and new. Aiding in this is the strong production work of Kurt Ballou (of Converge fame), who enhances proceedings with a sound that nails what the band are aiming for.

What separates and elevates Dark Superstition from the rest of the band's discography is the greater emphasis on Wagner and Garza's guitar parts, especially their embracing of Gothernburg-esque melodic death metal guitar parts. This additional element creates a mix that is potent, powerful and damn catchy. The title track is built around a melodic riff that gives way to a demonic churn that will rattle the, by now, bruised organs in your rib cages. Similar can be said of "A Chilling Aura", although instead of a churn, the melodic parts are paired with an uptempo track that has the feel of a tank running out of control at full speed.

While Mason's roar does feel a bit one-dimensional at times, if his vocals can be considered the weak link in the chain then that is one strong chain indeed. Arrebollo gives tracks like "Oblivion" their power, and acts as the glue that holds the disparate elements that Gatecreeper have embraced together.

However, just when you think the band have made a record that is end-to-end brilliance, "Tears From The Sky" turns the runaway tank feel of the album into a slow, lumbering lurch  that stumbles over the finishing line, sounding like a mercy rather than a triumph. While it has worked as a part of songs up to this point (see "Flesh Habit"), the band get the balance wrong just as the finishing line comes into view.

Despite leaving a sour taste in your mouth, Dark Superstition is an otherwise solid album that will likely feature among album of the year discussions in a few months' time. Gatecreeper go from strength to strength, managing to add new elements without diluting the sound that has got them to this point.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Written on 20.05.2024 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 146 users
20.05.2024 - 12:38
Auntie Sahar
Drone Empress
This is a good review to show people if they think you're more the type of reviewer who goes around trashing bands with low scores just for the Hell of it. Your sense of balance has my respect

You definitely make a hard sales pitch here, I've been a fan of these guys since Sonoran Deprivation, so an increased hardcore and melodeath presence would indeed probably make their sound even more dynamic and captivating. Will be getting on this soon!
I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.

21.05.2024 - 14:09
Rating: 8
I love the album, but man they sound like a Dismember tribute for most of the runtime.
21.05.2024 - 17:09
Rating: 5
Boxcar Willy
yr a kook
Great review, but I can’t get over how unfitting the vocals are for this. They really lack the impact and range they need for their new Gothenburg style sound. It’s funny, the third track loses the melodic edge and sounds like an Obituary cover, which despite being a lot more simple, fits their sound a bit better IMO.

14:22 - Marcel Hubregtse
I do your mum

22.05.2024 - 21:39
Lost To Apathy
Not sure if I like this more or less than Deserted yet, but hard to disagree with most of your review, omne.

Interesting take on the track order on Heavy Blog Is Heavy, which kind of solves your issue with 'Tears From Fall The Sky's placement:
"Pay no heed to anyone and do what seems right to yourself." - Franz Kafka, The Trial
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