Gatecreeper Unite Fanbases at Foufounes Électriques

The Gatecreeper headlining tour stopped in Montreal this Monday, bringing the Arizona act’s blend of death metal and hardcore north of the border. Gatecreeper are touring in support of their newest EP, An Unexpected Reality, a near 18-minute sonic assault that further establishes the group as one of the leading players in the modern death metal scene.

Three supporting acts took the stage prior to Gatecreeper in the form of Fearing, 200 Stab Wounds, and Narrow Head. Those present definitely anticipated 200 Stab Wounds' set, which gave off an energy expected from a group with such a name. It can confidently be said that a minimum of 200 stab wounds were delivered at the show, most of which coming from the band's stomping death metal riffs and maniacal technical guitar solos. The Ohio-based act proved worthy openers for Gatecreeper, providing audience members with a death metal taste test while waiting for the headlining act.

Another noteworthy opener was Narrow Head, who took those present right back to the ‘90s with their depressive, grungy, noise-rock sound. Clearly influenced by acts like Sonic Youth and the Melvins, the Texas-natives managed to captivate the audience at Foufounes Électriques, despite playing songs that pale in comparison to the heaviness of Gatecreeper bombers. Narrow Head’s ability to incorporate heavier riffs and the occasional guttural scream into their downer songs made them a pleasant surprise for the lineup.

It’s not surprising that Gatecreeper stole the show. As previously mentioned, their blend of death metal song structures with the attitude of hardcore music make them an absolute treat to see live, their genre fusion serving almost like a cheat code for getting heads in the audience bobbing. Frontman Chase H. Mason powered through number after number, delivering an enduring performance.

The band played a fair mix of material from their three main releases, 2016’s Sonoran Depravation, 2019’s Deserted, and their most recent EP. Their performance did prove much of the reviews for their second full-length, as fans criticized Deserted for its slower, groovier numbers, saying it failed to match the intensity of their powerhouse debut. Unfortunately, critics were proven right when these new tracks were played live, as a few of Gatecreeper’s longer opening songs left fans itching for more. Thankfully, the back half of their set was heavy on their new EP and debut, as more fans began climbing on-stage and throwing themselves into the audience.

Despite the strong performance, it’s interesting to note how the behaviour of audiences changes based on what flavour band are playing. While straighter metal shows encourage push-heavy moshing, the pit tonight was filled with karate enthusiasts, flinging their limbs around frantically. These karate-moshers tended to distract from the show, as a wide circle pit was created for only a handful of offenders, those on the border trying to avoid flying fists. It seems like the presence of these hardcore kids stems from Gatecreeper’s sonic fusion with the genre, an interesting consequence of their style of music. At more traditional metal shows, these fist-flingers would be quieted down fairly quickly, as this kind of moshing tends to be frowned upon within metal circles. Metalheads are totally fine with people flying into them at shows, but getting your teeth knocked out by someone practicing their pitcher’s throw isn’t as fun.

The situation clearly disgruntled Mason, who asked for a “push-pit” right before going into their final song of the night, “Flamethrower.” The crowd reacted well to this encouragement, as the pit filled with fans who wanted to get one last mosh in for the night. Despite the clashing between hardcore kids and metalheads, who got into a few minor altercations, Gatecreeper managed to pull everyone together in the end.

All in all, the tour’s Montreal stop proved that this lineup has a lot to offer audience members, despite some supporting acts seeming a tad out of place at first. As the Gatecreeper headlining tour continues to ravage North America, make sure to attend if they’re stopping by you.

Hunter co-hosts The Iron Club, your weekly guide to the dark and mysterious realm of underground metal, which airs every Sunday from 9:00 - 11:00 p.m.