Published Oct 05, 2016After spearheading one of this year's most impressive splits, "Carved into Stone," (a four-pronged monster with Outer Heaven, Scorched and Homewrecker) and following the release of their excellent 2014 self-titled EP, Gatecreeper's long-awaited debut Sonoran Depravation delivers some of this year's best Swedish-style death metal from this side of the Atlantic.
Mixed by Converge's Kurt Ballou and produced by Ryan Bram at Homewrecker Studios in the band's hometown of Tucson Arizona, Sonoran Depravation finds Gatecreeper pouring voracious crust-punk over doom metal unearthed straight from the depths of the Grand Canyon. That the band are from the Southwest is obvious, as it seeps into every bit of this record, from album artwork that depicts mountains cowering to incessant flames to songs that evoke the paralyzing disorientation of being lost in a barren land.
Sonoran Depravation is wildly dynamic, demonstrating the band's sheer might at points and sounding alternately overblown and agile; at 1:58 seconds, the d-beats on "Desperation" are a firm nod to hardcore at its most merciless, while on "Patriarchal Grip", the metallic blast beats of an off-track, thundering locomotive end its perilous descent with the steady pace of old school stoner rock.
At times, Gatecreeper are reminiscent of the now deceased Bolt Thrower, but let's not be naïve — Sonoran Depravation is music both born from and dedicated to the Wild West. (Relapse)