Friday, October 27, 2023

Cult of Vampires: Creeper and the Ultimate Gothic Rock album ‘Sanguivore’

‘Sanguivore’ - an animal that consumes blood 

Creeper has showcased a remarkable ability for reinvention. With each new release, they've ushered in a fresh era for the band.

Their journey began with a punk-rock aesthetic, heavily influenced by The Ramones, complete with the iconic callous heart logo on their leather jackets. However, the turning point arrived in 2018 at a concert at KOKO, London, where they retired those emblematic jackets.

This shift marked a pivotal moment for Creeper, their very own David Bowie at Hammersmith moment, killing off their old personas in order to step into a new era.

Their album 'Sex, Death and the Infinite Void' took inspiration from Britpop and 1970s British rock and roll, narrating the story of Roe, a fallen angel exploring the complexities of love with the addictive Annabelle. 

Now, they've embarked on a new chapter as vampires with their concept album 'Sanguivore.' This narrative revolves around Mercy, a fierce vampire who was turned at nineteen, and her control over an elderly man named Spook. Throughout the album, we witness Mercy's journey as she gradually rediscovers her lost humanity.

Opening with an ambiance that sounds directly from a 1950s horror film, ‘Further Than Forever’ sees Creeper channel the theatrical essence of an 80s rock opera, evoking a blend of Meat Loaf’s grandeur and Joy Division's emotional depth, with a hint of the playful charm found in the Vampire puppet musical from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. In this track, Creeper employs radiant keys, masterfully cunning guitar solos, and angelic harmonies to craft a mesmerizing and dramatic ballad.

Entering a different musical realm, the boldly provocative ‘Cry To Heaven’ pulsates with seductive rhythm and an extravagant showiness. Creeper gracefully and cleverly transitions into a change in pace and creates a blend of theatrics without over exaggerating to create an epic ballad.  

Accelerating with swift guitars and an electrifying drumbeat, ‘Sacred Blasphemy’ shows influence from The Misfits, ventures into a fresh and diverse soundscape, delving into an Emo style while retaining the captivating drama reminiscent of '80s ballads, resulting in an engaging and enthralling listening experience.

‘The Ballad of Mercy and Spook’ is a dark and haunting lullaby that recounts the tale of Mercy and her ruthless, violent waves. The tempo of the album shifts and boasts Will Gould’s vocals are striking, haunting and deep and mimic Nick Cave. 

‘Lovers Led Astray’ exudes a delightful '80s aura,  featuring a flowing synth and lively guitar riffs that propel the song at an enchanting tempo and is a personal favourite on the album. The incredibly infectious chorus bleeding with gothic rock meets classic metal vividly conjures images of Mercy and Spook, delivering an undeniably awe-inspiring experience.  

‘Teenage Sacrifice’ draws from the roots of traditional heavy metal, featuring raucous and distorted guitars, along with a powerful rhythm section that comes from a dense bass-and-drum interplay. Yet, Creeper ventures into a thrilling territory by experimenting with tempo and heightening the drama, revisiting the rock opera style showing clear influence from Meat Loaf’s ‘Bat Out Of Hell.’ These dramatics together create the perfect midday way point for suspense and euphoria. 

‘Chapel Gates’ has a classic Creeper sound to it, revisiting their debut album ‘Eternity In Your Arms.’ However, ‘Chapel Gates’ has a refined sound showing influence from The Damned and The Misfits.

‘The Abyss’ serves as a concluding moment, a concise instrumental piece that steadily ascends, featuring a haunting deep pipe organ that echoes through ‘Sanguivore’ seamlessly leading into the track ‘Black Heaven.’

In ‘Black Heaven’ Creeper reveals a fresh perspective, embarking on an experimental journey with electronic synths, drawing notable inspiration from New Order. 

‘More Than Death’ serves as the concluding chapter for this magnificent album. Its simplicity in structure, highlighted by the exquisite paint work of Hannah Hermione, beautifully encircles Will Gould’s commanding vocal prowess, effortlessly captivating attention and bewitching those who listen. 

Sanguivore is an intoxicating, beautiful album showcasing Creeper at the pinnacle of their musical dexterity. They affirm their exceptional storytelling abilities by weaving their tapestry of a world and multifaceted characters. This is undoubtedly their finest work yet, an awe-inspiring masterpiece 

Ana Joy King


Image: ‘Sanguivore’ Official Album Cover

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