Gatekeeper: Giza (Merok)
Anyone who’s a Depeche Mode fan might remember when they tacked on a bunch of bonus tracks to Music For The Masses in the late 80s. The chugging “Aggro Mix” of “Never Let Me Down Again” fused a Giorgio Moroder bassline with a slightly edgier dance dub aesthetic, taking the pop tune to a darker place. Chicago duo Gatekeeper (not to be confused with the dubstep artist of the same name) seem to fully channel the energy of that combination on their 2nd EP, touching on the dark disco mid 80s sound of DM or even early Skinny Puppy. “Storm Column” is one of my favorites, plodding at a slower tempo and sounding straight out of the opening credits for a B-movie. It’s a full-on nod to the heyday of Wax Trax along with its European kindred spirits, splitting the difference between the most accessible dancefloor moments of Skinny Puppy and the likes and the aggressive pop slant of Zoth Ommog in the early 90s. But the polish of these tracks helps them to rise above mere nostalgia; they’re actually quite catchy in their own right, especially the Dario Argento-tinged title cut and its fat, galloping bassline.