On Arizona death-metal phenoms Gatecreeper's hook-laden second album, Deserted, the rightly lauded extremists upped the ante and blazed their own left hand path. Shiny, pop-style production punctuates their stellar songwriting, which channels elements of Bolt Thrower, Obituary, Crowbar and other far-beyond-crushing influences. Frontman Chase Mason has called their approach "stadium death metal," and while Gatecreeper may never play venues that big, they whole-heartedly deserve to reach the masses. Fred Pessaro
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