An Unexpected Reality


It seems a lot can be accomplished in a mere eighteen minutes. Perhaps eighteen minutes will be the recommended length of time to wash your hands in the near future; as mutant variants fiercely manifest to culminate in a Viral Overlord, banishing most of the human race into a collective agonising shrill, as they desperately scour the desolated wasteland looking under smouldering debris for scraps of penne pasta and scorched toilet roll remnants. Given the current likelihood of this dire inevitability, would you rather wash your hands singing the happy birthday song 108 times, or headbang along to some Arizonian death metal?

Props to the producer on this EP, who had the revelatory foresight to frantically rush over to the mixing desk and slam the play button just in time in a feverish panic as death-metal outfit Gatecreeper launched into the 60 second opener Starved. We are given a savage ear-bashing over the next 7 minutes with 7 different cuts of ferocious grind-core-infused-death-metal, reminiscent of Power Trip and early Napalm Death. You get 13 seconds of breathing space in the intro to Imposter Syndrome, before you're thrown back into the riff-laden tirade. The result is a well executed, vigorous, fleeting attack; accentuated with powerful and crisp production, focusing on gigantic sounding guitars and drums. Expect nothing else when you've got the superb Kurt Ballou in control of the mix. There's a healthy blend of influences here, such as Black Breath, Nails and Entombed that culminates in the initial onslaught of the first half of this EP, with highlights including the rapid and relentless 30 second banger Amputation, and the chaotic-minute long Superspreader.

However, half the time of An Unexpected Reality is absorbed by the 11 minute Doom-odyssey finale, Emptiness. Respect must be given to the band for their ambitious attempt to close this EP at such a dramatically contrasting pace and musical direction, but this rather bloated ending feels underwhelming in comparison to the ferocious energy that immediately captures and strangles your attention. They proceed with everything normally expected from a classic doom-metal saga. This all seems rather formulaic and generic. Yes, it opens with an isolated distorted guitar. Then, it gradually builds up to a slow-paced heavy riff. Yes, it becomes eerily ambient in the middle and YES it briefly shifts gears into a faster section with double drum kicks punching out the rhythmic patterns. And guess what, it ends with a moody, atmospheric fade-out. Basically, it's what 95% of bands at Desertfest sound like, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, unless you've been standing there for 6 straight hours practically listening to the same riff, feeling kind of agitated, and itching to hear something upbeat in a standard tuning to liberate yourself from your hazy riff-based stupor. However, the initial barrage of tightly composed noise was promising enough to eagerly anticipate Gatecreeper's future endeavours. There's nothing ground-breaking here, well unless you mean literally as opposed to metaphorically.