Gatecreeper – Dark Superstition Review

Band: Gatecreeper
Album: Dark Superstition
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Death metal
Country: USA
Release Date: May 17th, 2024
For Fans Of: Entombed, Dismember

Arizona’s Gatecreeper has become a divisive band. In their rise to prominence following the success of 2016’s Sonoran Depravation and 2019’s Deserted, they have become a love-them-or-hate-them phenomenon in the extreme metal world—and I don’t hate them. Playing down-the-plate Swedish death metal with that style’s characteristic punky-tendencies, Gatecreeper have built their empire on making death metal just a little bit more fun.

Even though most of the band are from Tucson, Gatecreeper are the new poster child for extreme metal in my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. Incorporating the desert aesthetic and sandpaper-dry production into their music, I’ve always had a personal connection to Gatecreeper, proudly representing my Arizona heritage. The cover art for Dark Superstition carries on this legacy, depicting a desert night in hues of purple, orange and green, undergoing a sort of supernatural rapture. This depiction foreshadows the music as well.

For their Nuclear Blast debut, Gatecreeper experimented. It’s the last thing any fan will want to hear, but it’s true. And just like on the cover, the world is coming apart because of it. In a surprising twist of fate, Gatecreeper are getting in touch with their gothic side- most notably on the controversial Peaceville Three-inspired “The Black Curtain”. It’s a really interesting idea, and honestly, I respect their balls for just going for it and doing what they want. But it just doesn’t really work that well. The instrumentation is fine, but with Chase’s vocals as unintelligible as ever, and with no variation in style or delivery at any point, it just feels like a mismatch. I like the melody, the guitar work is good for the style, and I really like the fun little pop-style tambourine on the chorus, but ultimately it feels like this track doesn’t belong. If it were a one-off single, sure, cool, but its placement on the album between the traditional “Oblivion” and the death-doom stomp of “Masterpiece of Chaos” causes serious whiplash.

Overall, Gatecreeper’s sound has also gotten much more melodic. Their characteristic buzzsaw guitar is still present, albeit toned down- but this time on multiple tracks we’re treated to guitar leads and melodies that were never present before. Normally I would love that, being a melodeath defender at heart, but for whatever reason it just doesn’t always fit. Gatecreeper regularly jump back and forth between melodic songs and their more typical mid-paced death metal, and it can be jarring. “Dead Star”, “Superstitious Visions”, “Flesh Habit” and others feel like a completely different band, and while some of it works, some of it falls flat.

That being said, I don’t hate this record- I actually respect Gatecreeper a lot for expanding their sound and playing with new ideas. There’s some quality stuff on here, just a bit of inconsistency. For an already-divisive band, Dark Superstition is sure to sow further division, and somehow I find myself sitting on the fence.

Rating: 6/10


  1. Dead Star
  2. Oblivion
  3. The Black Curtain
  4. Masterpiece of Chaos
  5. Superstitious Visions
  6. A Chilling Aura
  7. Caught in the Treads
  8. Flesh Habit
  9. Mistaken for Dead
  10. Tears Fall from the Sky

Total Playing Time: 37:19

Click here to visit Gatecreeper’s Bandcamp.