Cruel Humanity – Creatures of Fear – 3/5
I wish I could have more praise for this band, for whilst they are certainly experimental, and throughout the album come up with some original ideas and styles, the simple fact is not everything works. The opening track sounding a little like a Marilyn Manson cover, and the overtly long and rather bland ‘Into the Hall of the Fallen Heroes,’ for example, and whilst it certainly picks up, it still has plenty of weaknesses.
The use of keyboards in that first track gives in an industrial or electro feel to the proceedings, and whilst I have heard it work in other bands, here it simply feels cheap. What perhaps is rather unusual, however, is how effective they work in most of the album, providing a subtle atmosphere, and the occasional ‘electro’ effect (and even a solo) without detracting from the end result. The bass is rather simplistic, and for the most part so are the guitars. Whilst some interesting riffs occur, little particularly stands out. They are however capable of incredible variety, from the excellent work present on the closing track, to the more standard affair tremolo riffs in ‘Blood Omen.’
Unusually, the real star of this band seems to be the drummer, clearly heard in the end result he pushes forth the track, never resorting to entirely using blast beats he consistently succeeds in producing a constant variation in style. Quite often I found myself paying more attention to the drummer over the vocalist, who whilst yielding a fairly decent high pitched growl, fails to vary his pitch, leading to a fairly tiresome affair.
With acoustic guitars, a constantly changing atmosphere, and more ideas packed into an album this is certainly something of a unique album. From the epic almost Viking, to the slower more doom-like or ambient tones they have taken a crack at exploring a wide variety of styles. It’s simply a shame more of them couldn’t have worked out better.
Highlights: Blood Omen, So This is Life, Pre-Apocalyptic Stare