Some 5,300 miles away from the Swedish town of Visby, an Arizona desert beckons. At a glance the two locales couldn't be more different, in terms of climate and culture, populace past and present. Yet a genre as persistent and enduring as death metal inevitably gets its tendrils into even the most arid and harsh landscapes. The continued embracement by American metal audiences of Visby's pioneering Grave or, say, Gothenburg's At The Gates, speaks to this phenomenon.
Proud residents of Sonoran Desert cities like Tucson and Phoenix, Gatecreeper cite both groups as influences, as have metal critics and fans. "One of the gateway records was At The Gates' Slaughter Of The Soul," says frontman Chase Mason. "A lot of the metal I got into was through hardcore."
Indeed, Gatecreeper's appeal spreads beyond death metal audiences and into the hardcore arena. You're as likely to find them playing punk festivals in Philadelphia as you are to catch them opening for the likes of Skeletonwitch or headlining local metal gigs in the Southwest. As technology and social media opened up music to the masses in new ways, it's become clearer and clearer how artificial the purportedly strict scene divisions are. "There's a lot of crossover right now," says Mason. "There's a lot of hardcore kids getting into death metal."
This fortuitous state of affairs bodes well for Gatecreeper, whose debut full-length for Relapse Records premieres here today. Entitled Sonoran Depravation, the nine song album reflects the prickly intermingling of genres and cities, raw with emotion and a pervasive ferocity. Unlike bands like Power Trip or Xibalba, whose sound clearly melds thrash and punk, Gatecreeper's approach on tracks like "Sterilizing" or highlight "Stronghold" emphasize death metal as a primary style.
"Being in the desert warps our minds a little bit," says Mason. So take some time to expose yourself to the furnace blast heat of Gatecreeper's new album, streaming below.
GATECREEPER w/ Skeletonwitch, Iron Reagan, Oathbreaker:
9/29/2016 The Earl – Atlanta, GA
9/30/2016 The Jinx – Savannah, GA
10/01/2016 Crowbar – Tampa, FL
10/02/2016 The Atlantic – Gainesville, FL
10/03/2016 Sluggo's – Pensacola, FL *
10/04/2016 Siberia – New Orleans, LA
10/05/2016 White Oak – Houston, TX
10/06/2016 RBC – Dallas, TX
10/07/2016 Barracuda – Austin, TX
10/08/2016 The Sandbox – El Paso, TX *
10/09/2016 Rebel Lounge – Phoenix, AZ
10/10/2016 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
10/11/2016 The Roxy – Los Angeles, CA
10/12/2016 DNA Lounge – San Francisco, CA
10/14/2016 Panic Room – Portland, OR
10/15/2016 Highline – Seattle, WA
10/16/2016 Wastelander Studios – Boise, ID *
10/17/2016 Metro Bar – Salt Lake City, UT
10/18/2016 Marquis Theater – Denver, CO
10/29/2016 Within These Walls Fest – Mesa, AZ*
Gary Suarez is staying hydrated on Twitter.