Wretched Illusions (Entertainment One)
Old school death metal, when it’s done well, is utterly relentless. It might not be as fast as other extreme metal sub genres, but it can still be terrifyingly brutal. Think the ambling Romero/Walking Dead zombies rather than the modern fast-moving versions; they keep going with single-minded intensity and, eventually, they’re gonna mess you up.
The trouble is, most of the originators are aging fast. The likes of Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Obituary — the pace is catching up with them, and in some cases they’ve lost key members to the point that they’re a shadow of their former selves. The scene needs fresh blood (almost literally), and that’s where bands such as Creeping Death come in.
The references on the press release are telling; comparisons are made to icons such as Sepultura, Bolt Thrower and Gorguts, suggesting that the Denton, Texas, boys cast a wide net when it comes to influences. There’s nothing one-dimensional about this debut album (presented on beautiful, weighty colored vinyl by Entertainment One). From the opening “Ripping Through Flesh,” this is hard-hitting, dynamic death metal of the highest order.
When you read the lyric sheet (as you have to, as with most death metal, to have a clue what the lyrics are), they don’t go the Cannibal Corpse route of “shocking the shit out of you” either. They’re nihilistic and bleak, yes. Violent in places, sure. But they’re also incisive and intelligent with a poetic slant that borders the biblical (Revelations, obviously) at times.
Reese Alavi is a flawless vocalist in the classic death metal mold, while the musicianship from the rest of the band is technically dazzling. Like those zombies, they just keep coming for you and, by the time you get to the closing “Consumed,” you’re exhausted.
Creeping Death are exactly the sort of band that death metal needs — tipping a hat to those who came before them but injecting a whole lot of dark new energy. Metallica fans might think that their name is a bit generic, but the music certainly isn’t.
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