Creepmime – Shadows – 4/5
And old school death metal band poorly known when this debut album was released, and hence completely unknown 15 years on, originating from Holland was not at all to their benefit. Whilst there is certainly better, there’s a lot worse that is still remembered, and fans of the genre may find something of value here.
The guitars are often simplistic, more old school and Swedish in influence than the more frantic and upbeat nature of their American counterparts, which allows for an almost doom-like emotional aggression to come through, especially in the acoustic intro for “A serenade for the tragic” and the solo in “Chinese whispers,” which works perfectly at capturing the mood of the song. The drumming is again not quick paced, but does more than build a framework; it adds another level to draw you in. Even the bassist can be heard on the majority of tracks, not just acting as another guitar following the same riff. On the best of the tracks, everything comes through crisp and clear, and the date it was recorded leaves nothing to be desired.
The vocals straddle a fine line between what can and cannot be understood. On roughly half the tracks, I could make out what was said and half where I couldn’t. Combining a whisper, and a deathly growl, only where he growls slowly can he be made out. Usually I readily accept the odds I wont know what is said, but once you hear some of the lyrics, you realise this isn’t just another bunch of death imagery, its well thought out, and has a reason. Each track has an idea behind it, for example the track “Soon Ripe, Soon Rotten” has written in the booklet:
“We never listen and so we’ll never learn. Society, the apple of our eyes, is rotten to the core and is ripe for disposal in a universal garbage bag.”
Death imagery still plays a large part in their lyrics, but rather than using death imagery for the sake of it, there is an underlying emotion inherent within each song, using the lyrics in a more metaphorical sense, and it’s when they can be heard and comprehended that it has some kind of power. Otherwise, they’re rather more generic in their nature, and largely mediocre.
This album started off slow, the first four tracks being relatively repetitive and I was expecting to be quite bored by the end of the album, but this was not the case. Towards the end of the album the pace tended to vary more, the emotion playing a more prominent role, the solo’s given more chance to shine, the drums and bass working together to give a harder hitting background, and more high pitched death-like riffs coming through at times, and all these aspects transformed them from another generic death metal band to someone capable of producing something creative, of standing on their own. Its simply a shame they couldn’t do this more often.
This is more one for the Death metal fans. Like I said at the beginning, there are better places to start exploring the genre, but certainly fans of swedeath and melodeath ought to be able to find something of value in this release that seems to have been left forgotten in the depths of time.
Highlights: A Serenade for the Tragic, Chinese Whispers, My Soul Flayed Bare
By T. Bawden