Gatecreeper – Dark Superstitions

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Raw and melodic, these two words personify the third album 'Dark Superstitions' of the Tucson/Phoenix, Arizona death metal five-piece Gatecreeper. Sounding brilliant in their knack for Swedish HM-2 distortion-filled riffs, they keep things in the Entombed and Dismember classic quality. The returning lineup consists of Metal Matt (drums), Eric Wagner (guitars), Chase H. Mason (vocals), Israel Garza (guitars) and Alex Brown who has recently joined the band.

The songwriting on ‘Dark Superstition’ has matured to perfection if compared to the 2019 album ‘Deserted’. There are lots of variations in the tempo with a superb melody that is reminiscent of the Swedish Gothenburg style of the 90s. The riffs inevitably add hooks to the hoarse vocals, the ramping drums and the double bass in the opening track ‘Dead Star’.

In terms of production and composition Gatecreeper effortlessly inserts melodic parts: almost the whole album is riff-laden and melodic; but they do display a keen sense of aggression. The tremolo picking effectively alters the chords in addition to the tonal effect of the HM-2 distortion, making songs like “Oblivion” heavy and raw.

The band has opted for consistency on their bulldozing, fierce formula combined with the American hardcore. Gatecreeper has a clear gift of composing aggressive death metal, keeping the spirit high as they offer a delicious platter for fans of Swedish death metal. ‘The Black Curtain’ opens with catchy melodic notes and the drums up the pace. The riffs are extremely crushing, a bold testament to these lads for releasing one of their best albums.

The bass guitar rumbles hard with pure aggressive riffs showing a bold and assertive approach to songwriting. Every track exudes rotten riffs and remarkably refreshing guitar hooks. ‘Masterpiece in Chaos’ offers raw violent tremolo riffing that sounds old school. The focus of this song highlights the chainsaw guitar distortion which seems to have an axe to grind, and there are plenty of mid-paced, brutal songs on the album.

The rotten death metal riffing shifts gear aptly alongside a blazing solo that has become the signature of the band. When melodies are placed in contrast to the mauling drums, more powerful riffs and scathing melodies are showcased throughout ‘Superstitious Visions’.

The dual guitar harmony conveys a considerable amount of memorability, through their raw and brutal assault Gatecreeper revels in their intellectual songwriting. The drums execute some fast blast beats with the juxtaposition of shredding melodies before gearing into a classic raw death metal pace on the track ‘A Chilling Aura’.

Showing no remorse in fusing percussive stomp and blazing guitar melodies, driven across the chainsaw-laden riffs, each song on the album is fucking heavy, unique, and renders a professional musical performance. There are no fillers and the songs range from fast-paced, in-your-face death metal old-school swagger like ‘Caught in Treads’ to slow-tempo melo death metal like ‘Flesh Habit’.

The bass guitar radiates with power in the opening of the song which immediately caught me off guard with its abrasiveness and fucking chainsaw riff impact. The beating gallops of the drums then explode offering pulverizing moments that will make you nod to the stomping riffs and rhythm section is just irresistible.


The band has upped its formula to sound genuinely close to Entombed, but the truth is no one has come to this perfectionism with the contemporary U.S. death metal scene. The diversity of songwriting is noteworthy and plugged with the chainsaw guitar tone of the Swedish death metal sound. It’s worth mentioning that the lineup has remained consistent since the formation.

Mistaken for Dead’ is insanely mixing raw old-school brutality with melodic hooks. The drumming is fast, this song has some nasty tempo sections and is packed with punishing aggression. The final track ‘Tears Fall From The Sky’ is a slow sludgy death metal song: the guitars are somehow doomy and there is more emphasis on the Dismember worship. From the vicious melodic riffing to the throat-cutting screams, the guitars possess such a unique flair in their rhythms and melodies that they will keep you hooked to the last minute of the album.


  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 9/10
  • Originality 9/10

Gatecreeper’s third full-length album combines melody and aggression in a convincing package that is hard to dismiss. If you’re a fan of bands like Dismember and Entombed, then this is most certainly a must-have album.

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