Label: Roadrunner Records UK
Release Date: 31st July 2020
"The punk riffs and blast beats have mostly gone, whilst the goth factor has been turned all the way up to eleven, something that I didn’t think was actually possible with this band."
Creeper have always been a band that hasn’t stuck to the most conventional musical avenues, incorporating everything from simple theatrics to a fictional kidnapping to build album hype. The band return with their sophomore album, titled, Sex, Death & The Infinite Void. The punk riffs and blast beats have mostly gone, whilst the goth factor has been turned all the way up to eleven, something that I didn’t think was actually possible with this band. The Southampton sextet has delivered the most unexpected and creative musical rollercoaster of 2020 so far. The album oozes with a moody blues-like atmosphere: the influences are obvious, signalling references to Queen, Meat Loaf, Twin Temple, and more.
Following their infamous 2018 London gig in which they claimed “Not only is it the last show of this album, but it's the last show that we'll ever do” before storming off stage, the band have returned and arguably are at their best. The album opens with ‘Hallelujah!', a forty-six-second spoken word segment that starts with, “Hallelujah, for the Devil almighty reigns / let us rejoice, and exalt and give him the glory”. This instantly made me grin like a child when I initially heard it as it was so unexpected. It does a fantastic job of setting the mood of the album.
‘Be My End’ follows next: the goth sensibility is strong on this track. Vocalist Will Gould bellows “Would you be-be-be my Armageddon / As we fall-fall-fall out of heaven / Unkept, unswept, and unforgiven / I'll be choking and drinking and dying / And dreaming of you.” It doesn’t get any more goth than that, and this is only the opening lyrics on the first proper song. Instrumentally, the track sounds a lot more sophisticated than any of their previous work. The guitars take on an old-time Americana feel, delivering a moody, melancholic attitude, with a chorus that was instantly on repeat in my head.
The blues atmosphere continues throughout the album with noticeable songs including ‘Born Cold’, “Paradise” and specifically ‘Poisoned Heart’ that would go well on a Quentin Tarantino film soundtrack. ‘Napalm Girls’ is the closest song to anything that can be attributed to the classic Creeper sound, and wouldn’t look misplaced on any of their EP’s before Eternity, In Your Arms. However, it’s not perfect. There are five interludes on the album including the intro, with each interlude weaving the story of the album concerning a fallen angel type character named Roe and his lover, Annabelle. The last track is a spoken word segment that may leave some fans feeling cheated as they did not get the massive theatrical ending that they were expecting. The penultimate track ‘All My Friends’ does a satisfactory job for those looking for something more theatrical. The dual vocals on ‘Four Years ago’ between Gould and keyboardist Hannah Greenwood was a personal highlight from the album, acting as a pleasant change of pace just after the halfway point. Parallels can be drawn with Eternity’s ‘Crickets’, which Greenwood also added her vocal chops to.
Creeper have, without doubt, reinvented themselves on Sex, Death & The Infinite Void and are far the better for it. The band have never been one to rest on their laurels and these new songs show that the transition to rock ‘n’ roll from punk rock is a step in the right direction. Each song is filled with old school attitude, with multiple musical influences spanning countless bands and genres. Despite the inclusion of numerous interludes that to some may break up the flow of the album, Sex, Death & The Infinite Void has exceeded all expectations and is an excellent example of a band capitulating on their newly found image.
Words by John Canham.
31st July 2020.