Gatecreeper // Dark Superstition // Album Review


Arizona desert dwellers Gatecreeper are finally back with their third & newest album “Dark Superstition”

If you are to ask anyone about the leaders of the modern old-school style of death metal Gatecreeper comes instantly to mind.

The band have been conquering the globe for ten years now, with their debut album “Sonoran Depravation” becoming a classic of this modern era of death metal & their follow-up to it “Deserted” which took the group even further into the atmosphere.

Now with a dozen top-name support tours & pretty much selling out venues all over the globe, the band are releasing their much-awaited next album “Dark Superstition”.

Right from the opening track “Dead Star” the band is firing on all cylinders. Using that signature HM2 sound they have beautifully crafted to become their own. Still, they have so also effortlessly incorporated more of the melodic elements they have played around with on previous albums.

Vocalist Chase H. Mason’s flawless angusing tone hits just as perfectly as always. The guitarist team of Eric “The Dark Cowboy” Wagner & Israel Garza’s thick axe tone & writing ability right from the get-go is so bloody promising for the rest of the album.

The next track brings that fast pace & brutality Gatecreeper does so well with “Oblivion”. A raw fury of power, which shows just how much of a hard hitter drummer Matt Arrebollo is. His unbridled talent to ride that line of caveman & technical, dipping his feet in both pools always allows his drums to serve the track well. This one is relentless & doesn’t waver.

Now for what I believe to be one of the best tracks the group have written “The Black Curtain”. The first time I heard this track I was blown away. Now there’s a saying “Evolve, don’t change..” and that’s exactly what Gatecreeper have done with the track & even this album. At their most melodic this track feels part way an arena anthem & tear-jerker.

The group stated “Dark Superstition is Gatecreeper’s answer to Entombed’s Wolverine Blues or Dismember’s Massive Killing Capacity”.

And that truly hits the nail on the head. This feels like the perfect next step for Gatecreeper. A push forward on the rock influence & more traditional metal elements & even heavier tracks have pushed that to the extreme too. It’s not all one-sided on this album it’s a step & commitment to both the beauty & darkness of death metal.

“Superstitious Vision” perfectly blends both elements the band is progressing with. Featuring a heavy chugging verse section that effortlessly transitions into a bright & glorious chorus this track has it all.

Hell, it even features one of the best cowbells I’ve heard this century & the most balls-out bridge section the band has done to date. Think “To Shot Straight” era Entombed mixed with Thin Lizzy. Damn, it’s cool.

Then cracking it back to 11 “Mistaken For Dead” again reminds you who Gatecreeper are down to the bones. A band you can fuck with when it comes to headbanging riffs & blasting drums. Alex Brown might be a newcomer to the band but making himself heard on his first effort with the band leaves a lasting impression. A thick punching bass tone that works well in the pocket with the drums adds this thick backbone to the album.

The closing track “Tears Fall From The Sky” feels like the next progression in the death-doom page the band dipped their toe into on a track like “Emptiness” from the band’s E.P. “An Unexpected Reality”.

This is a track I hold dear & it’s my favourite track of the groups but somehow they have been able to beat it. Opening in a mournful slow tempo with these repetitive lead sections before opening up into the arse beater palm muting chugging section with the big double bass. The track builds its layers slowly & gently until it becomes like a mammoth of a song & I couldn’t think of a better way to close out such a momentum of an album.

“Dark Superstition” is truly a masterful album. What Gatecreeper has been able to do with the third album is create something that feels timeless.

Merging both sides of the death metal coin to perfectly birth an album that not only will progress the genre but will be the next blueprint for the next generation of death metal bands. Taking what came before Gatecreeper and focusing it through a modern lens to make an album that is both gorgeous and savage in one swift swoop.

Review: Guy Williams

Dark Superstition is out via Nuclear Blast on 17th May 2024

1 Dead Star 03:41

2 Oblivion 03:11

3 The Black Curtain 03:19

4 Masterpiece Of Chaos 03:24

5 Superstitious Vision 03:53

6 A Chilling Aura 03:55

7 Caught In The Treads 03:35

8 Flesh Habit 03:51

9 Mistaken For Dead 02:41

10 Tears Fall From The Sky 05:51

GATECREEPER is: Chase H. Mason | Vocals Eric Wagner | Guitar Matt Arrebollo | Drums Israel Garza | Guitar Alex Brown | Bass