Creeping Death – Wretched Illusions
Reviewed: September 2019
Released: 2019 Entertainment One
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
I guess an obvious initial assumption to make, given the band’s name, is that Creeping Death are some Metallica-worshipping thrash throwbacks. Gotta be honest, I was kinda thinking that too when the promo turned up in my email inbox. But a quick read of the accompanying press materials shows why one should never “ass-ume.”
To whit: “Devotees of influential death metal merchants like Blood Red Throne (Norway), Gorguts (Canada), and Grave (Sweden) have a new American band to champion. Creeping Death draw liberally from the template set by those bands along with the speed of early Sepultura (Brazil) and the hammering epic crush of Bolt Thrower (England).”
Metallica never even rates a mention and when you give the band’s debut full-length, Wretched Illusions, a spin it’s easy to see why. It may indeed be throwbacky, but there’s nothing sleek, sophisticated or all that technically minded about Creeping Death’s blunt object delivery. And you can pretty much forget about melody.
While there are certainly thrashy elements, this is a decidedly death metal endeavor. Along with the above-mentioned acts, Wretched Illusions brings to mind a corrosive blend of vintage Entombed and Death/Obituary, with plenty of crude chug and groove, flame-throwing vocals and a raw, insistently dirty sound. The production is thick, gravely and cavernous, with the instruments coming across as a collective buzz-saw topped by Reese Alavi’s guttural rasp.
The quartet are all business from the get-go here, opening with “Ripping Through Flesh” and continuing through the likes of “Bloodlust Contamination,” “Corroded From Within” and “World Decay” and concluding with “Consumed.” The band leave little room for metaphor or nuance, and while they do offer some clever hooks and a few strategic time changes, Wretched Illusions is about as relentlessly brutal as it gets.
Indeed, some more in the way of variety – tonally, structure/tempo-wise, etc. – might have been welcome here, as the album does feel rather one-dimensional over the long-haul. It’s something that wasn’t really an issue on Creeping Death’s earlier pair of EPs. But 40 minutes in what feels like a sonic cement mixer can be a bit much.