Gatecreeper
Sonoran Depravation


3.5
great

Review

by Arche USER (86 Reviews)
October 9th, 2016 | 58 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Made in Arizona, sounds like Stockholm.

It’s honestly impressive how stubbornly followers of the Stockholm branch of death metal have stuck to the subgenre’s roots. In approaching 25 years, the ingredients have remained largely the same - something which Gatecreeper’s self-titled EP, released back in 2014, overtly showed. Four tracks of detuned guitars, punky influences, the Boss HM-2’s notorious, granular tone and flailing solos highlighted how the Arizonans were happy to stick to their influences rather than try anything wildly out of the box. Now signed to Relapse Records, their first full-length largely leaves behind the breakneck leads in favour of a more riff-oriented approach – its only true surprise, with every other facet oozing pure Stockholm.

This heightened focus does come with its advantages - the importance of striking a balance between aggressive riffwork and catchy lead hooks becomes more pressing when the natural break of a solo is removed (or lessened in importance). This translates well, gifting the verses (more planted in tremolo-picked melody) enough energy to pull each song through, yet also providing track after track of opportunities for some good old-fashioned headbanging. What’s interesting about Sonoran Depravation’s structure, whether intentional or not, is how the first half feels more wanton, as opposed to the second’s more considered, doomier nature. Comparing the shortest and longest tracks (‘Desperation’ and ‘Grotesque Operations’) illuminates this nicely; ‘Desperation’ is a whirlwind of D-beats, grinding riffs and barely contained energy, whereas the latter sandwiches a similar approach between cuts that wouldn’t sound too out of place on a classic doom record.

The effect of this is double-edged however – while adding variety, its first 10-15 minutes feel much livelier than its second. While being great tracks on their own merit, the excitement that comes from ‘Craving Flesh’ and ‘Sterilized’ just isn’t there in the same way when ‘Flamethrower’ and ‘Grotesque Operations’ reach their time – and this is part of an overriding issue. Whether it’s the stylistic division towards its end, the eschewing of fast, twisted solos, or simply the stylistic apeing that reduces the album’s total impact is up for debate, but Sonoran Depravation is, sadly, atmospherically vapid. Still, while the search for ‘something more’ may come up fruitless, at the end of the day, it is nevertheless a fun way of spending half an hour – and considering Gatecreeper form part of a movement largely unchanged in a quarter of a century, perhaps that’s all I should want from it.



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user ratings (104)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Archelirion
October 9th 2016


5651 Comments


This is alright. Nothing mind-blowing, but I still really enjoyed some of it. Check here :] - https://gatecreeper.bandcamp.com/album/sonoran-depravation

Mystletainn
October 9th 2016


4050 Comments


props on the review, doubt i'll listen though

botb
October 9th 2016


12832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah this is like, basic fight riff death metal (albeit really well done) that you can just jam to, but it's definitely nothing ground breaking

tempest--
October 9th 2016


20632 Comments


rly like the artwork. hoping to get round to this soon but prob wont.

Archelirion
October 9th 2016


5651 Comments


Cheers Myst :]
Yeah, pretty much. I love the artwork though, it's fantastic.

porcupinetheater
October 9th 2016


2675 Comments


Sweet review, Man, succinct but really gets at the core of it.

I'll probably intend to jam this then forget it exists and never actually wind up hearing it

Archelirion
October 9th 2016


5651 Comments


I actually initially tried to keep it below 300 words but... it was crap. Glad you liked it though :]

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2016


8280 Comments


Good band, liked their debut EP.

Digging: Veiled (DE) - In Blinding Presence

Maco097
October 9th 2016


2999 Comments


By the summary I can guess it's a Death Metal band from Arizona whose sound is more similar to the Swedish old school death metal scene.

BandNewbac
October 9th 2016


2445 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good album

Archelirion
October 9th 2016


5651 Comments


Nailed it Maco :3

Sinternet
October 9th 2016


19085 Comments


great review buddy

you thinking about applying for contrib this year?

Digging: Marina - LOVE

Archelirion
October 9th 2016


5651 Comments


Thanks! Yeah, might give it another stab. Done a few newer releases this year so that should hopefully help :]

Sinternet
October 9th 2016


19085 Comments


i can't see any reason why you wouldn't get it, you're always reviewing stuff that wouldn't normally get noticed as well

oltnabrick
October 9th 2016


36654 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

not as good as the ep

Digging: Wallows - Nothing Happens

botb
October 9th 2016


12832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

like don't get me wrong though, definitely will still be lifting to this album constantly

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2016


11679 Comments


Great review man. Heard 'Craving Flesh' this morning on cymbal and really liked it, def going to give this a full spin. Art is awesome too as has been mentioned.

chug73
October 9th 2016


3799 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The guitars sound huge here. v nice.

Flugmorph
October 10th 2016


20865 Comments


stockholm is good

Digging: La Dispute - Panorama

EvoHavok
October 10th 2016


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sweet artwork and it seems there's some Swedeath fun to be found on this album, if not much else. Also, you should definitely be a contrib already.



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