Gatecreeper - Sonoran Depravation (Cover Artwork)


Sonoran Depravation (2016)

relapse records

Sonoran Depravation is the appropriately titled debut record from Arizona’s Gatecreeper. While Gatecreeper formed only a short 3 years ago, they have put countless hours into creating a slightly revised take on old school death metal. I was expecting to hear a record made by hardcore kids trying to play death metal, but I was pleasantly surprised, Gatecreeper are the real deal.

Death metal can be a tough genre to do properly in 2016, I’ve had about enough of over produced, try hard, China cymbal oriented “death metal” for one lifetime. It was pleasantly refreshing to hear a band that brings me back to some of my favorite metal bands, and most importantly Sonoran Depravation doesn’t sound pretentious, rehashed or forced. The production of the record handled by Ryan Bram at Homewrecker Studios and Kurt Ballou at God City is also on point.

The music immediately brings to mind British death metal legends Bolt Thrower and Benediction, which I love, but it also nicely mixes in elements of d-beat and doom, which sets Gatecreeper apart from some of their blast beat heavy peers. The songs on the record flow nicely, going from fast heavy bangers like “Desperation” to more laid out and dynamic songs like “Patriarchal Grip”. None of the songs are too long, which as I’ve said before can be an unfortunate mistake some bands of this genre make. The track listing is put together nicely and flows well in a properly wrapped death metal package.

My least favorite aspect of Gatecreeper are the vocals, while they aren’t bad, they are the most redundant part of the record. The vocalist has one card, and he plays it, but at the end of the day, death metal is about anger and feeling, not about beautiful vocal chops.

Gatecreeper have pretty much hit a home run for a debut record of this genre. The gory and dark imagery mixed with a heavy dose of double kick, d-beats and doom riffs will appeal to more than just your average Cannibal Corpse fan. These guys did it right the first time, metal fans take note and give Sonoran Depravation a spin.