by MythofRock

It seems that a pleasant space-time anomaly takes place in Tucson, Arizona. Gatecreeper, albeit Americans to the bone,playthe classiccatastrophic Swedish death metal with that familiar, filthybuzzsaw sound on guitars we grew up with. Stepping on the ground Dismember and Grave flourished in their early days and encompassing the grooves and heaviness of Bolt Thrower and Obituary, they justifiably drew attention and hype. You see, despite their obvious influences, their songwriting has been so good that it has essentially demanded (rather than gained) attention.
Apparently, close-minded bands of this kind tend to standardize themselves easily. Gatecreeper may be genuine death freaks, but so far,they’ve avoided this trapby varying their approach, and that’s what I like most about them. The ferociousand frank “Sonoran Deprivation” and the rather doom-soaked “Deserted”, showed Gatecreeper’s tendency to offer something different to the audiencewithout abolishing their grave-like essence. In this respect, I was curious to find out whether “Dark Superstition” would reveal another facet of the band’s worldview.
Well, in their third album Gatecreeper remain truly Dismember’s connoisseurs, adopting not only their sound but their footsteps as well. You may remember that the Swedes, in “Massive Killing Capacity”, adopted a melodic approach (a route that many others also followed back then). Likewise, “Dark Superstition” embeds melodicism, concurrently combining elements of the band’s two preceding works. Of course, Gatecreeperdon’t change dramatically.The Americans take proper care so that their riffology remainsirresistiblycrushing and groovy, craftingmainly mid-tempo songs with memorable leads and a pessimistic, septic atmosphere.
“Dark Superstition” has pleasant connotations of an era that bore a whole genre. If you’re old enough, you’ll make out the connections easily, which will surely put a smile on your face. Gatecreeperemphasized the melodic themes, which become even anthemic (“The Black Curtain”, “Superstitious Visions”) and love-to-hear; theirintentions are clarified from the beginning, in the melancholic yet characteristically heavy “Dead Star”.
The crucial role that leads play is evident. However, in an album more embellished than usual, unpretentious savagery (“Oblivion”, “Masterpiece of Chaos”) enhances the listening experience. After all,Gatecreeper don’t need to engage in complicated things; Mason’s guttural voice habits, now more Tardy-ish than ever, drive them to the decay and depths that the pioneers achieved. He excels in the straightforward, slightly gothic “Flesh Habit”, where rhythm and vibes (appropriate for a live performance) show that Gatecreeper can be accessibleand friendly to an ear less accustomed tomore savage forms of death metal.
As the album approaches the end, after the typical, short, fast-paced “Mistaken for Dead”, you wouldn’t expect something like “Tears Fall from the Sky”, a peculiardoom/death,melancholic idea that may have been excluded from the “Deserted” sessions. Its slow, weeping riffagecertainly recallsthe depressive atmosphere of My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, enhancingthe variety of the album.
Overall, “Dark Superstition”, while decent,reminds us that it’s not a bad idea when some values are re-taught.Gatecreeper,supported by a production team that enables them to sound fresh, don’t pretend, remaining loyal to the old-school death metal.Undoubtedly, their musical style,regarding the influences, is like an open book, buttheir wise songwriting creates a distinctive identity. Hence, I cannot help butapplaud the effort.
“Dark Superstition” is recommended to anyone who finds pleasure in short (or not so short) glimpsesof the past. However, if you seek daring experimentations and modernisms, you might want to explore other options. It’s up to you…

♦ 8/10

Alex Nikolaidis

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