As tour plans canceled and time freed up, the Arizona outfit opted to make their time away from the road productive and created one of their best recorded efforts in the process.
There is an interesting silver lining that has provided some subtext to the shitshow of the ongoing pandemic. While stages have remained shuddered and the future of live music is anything but certain, the amount of time that has freed up as a result has translated into a creative bloom – a flourishing crop of projects that were always on the back burner, until now.
Particularly for Arizona antagonists Gatecreeper, the band’s architect in Chase Mason had long been enamored with the notion of releasing a dual-sided recording that presented two sides of the same coin. Referencing Black Flag’s iconic, albeit polarizing, My War, Mason was especially fascinated with how people would reference not just a record, but a particular side of a record – a level of specificity that suggests something stuck.
As the band’s touring itinerary continued to open up and the pandemic saw a succession of surges, the reality grew increasing obvious that the road was as far off as ever and time was something the band would have an abundance of. Opting to make it productive, Mason and the band took to the studio.
Anchored by the caliber of aggression that has allowed Gatecreeper to resonate with the multitude of enclaves within the heavy music universe, An Unexpected Reality not only allowed Mason to see his creative vision come to fruition, but the unannounced, zero promotional rollout EP served as a outlet for the band to showcase their versatility and continued evolution.
Covering a stylistic spectrum that skillfully weaves elements of grindcore, doom, hardcore, and black metal, Gatecreeper’s ambition was underscored by their execution with the 7-track A Side functioning as the Molotov cocktail with the 11-minute single track B-side serving as the crumbling inferno.
Chase Mason explains how the apropos An Unexpected Reality filled the void of the dismal 2020.
If not for the pandemic and scarped tour plans in 2020 – does An Unexpected Reality ever get made?
Mason – I think it would have been made eventually, but the cancelled tour plans definitely freed up our time to make it happen sooner than later.
You guys brought up two really good points when you announced this record – 1. People’s attention spans are fried. It’s damn near impossible to get people to stay focused for too long. 2. An Unexpected Reality is intended to be consumed all at once. With everyone stuck inside, do you feel like the climate is ideal for a full album listening experience like this?
Mason – We hope so. It’s a very bizarre time we live in. People are burnt out, but also have a lot more time on their hands. Hopefully the way we released this record hit a sweet spot for people where they are excited on impact and make the time immediately to listen to it all the way through. Luckily, it’s short.
Gatecreeper seems to be a part of a growing community of emerging artists that disregard genre divides. Grind, doom, Black, hardcore – these are usually tough to meld together yet this album does exactly that. Do you feel like fans are becoming less purist?
Mason – There are certainly purists out there in any genre, especially metal sub-genres for some reason. We have gotten sort-of pigeonholed in the past and lumped into a current “sound” or “trend” in death metal. As a band, we like all kinds of genres of metal. We have varied tastes in general. This record was a conscious effort to knock down those boundaries and to do whatever excites us.
Particularly for songs like :”Superspreader” and “Sick of Being Sober” were any of these songs therapeutic In helping get through the shit show that was 2020?
Mason – I don’t know if “therapeutic” is the right word, but it definitely helped vent some anger or frustrations.
Given the experimental nature of this release as kind of a creative one off, do you see any of the stylistic changes you have made for this record sticking around for good? Like – does the ‘no blast beats rule’ maybe get lifted for good?
Mason – There will definitely be some elements that stick around. Maybe we will have some shorter, faster songs in the mix on our next record. Maybe we will throw some quick blast sections into what would be a more standard Gatecreeper song. Nothing is off the table.
You’ve mentioned you didn’t want to treat this like your next full length – was there any thought to maybe releasing this under a different name?
Mason – No, never. It may sound a little different, but it’s still sounds like Gatecreeper.
With touring still seemingly far off, is there any thought to this being a potential start of a series of EP releases?
Mason – No, probably not. If touring keeps getting pushed back, we are just going to start working on our next full-length.
Holy hell – 11 minutes! Was “emptiness” always intended to be so epic or did that come together organically?
Mason – I definitely wanted it to be long… and slow. It just sort of evolved organically. The trickiest and most important part was to make it interesting all the way though. Not just long for the sake of being long. It was added to and different influences were thrown in and by the time it was complete, it was a whole different beast from when it started.
An Expected Reality is currently available via Closed Casket Activities – HERE