At this point in your life, you can count on three things: death, taxes, and Creeper dropping theatrical punk rock masterpieces.
Creeper has always been a band that subverted expectations. On their first record, Eternity In Your Arms, they had a fast, angry, punk sound akin to Alkaline Trio. Their sophomore album, Sex, Death, & The Infinite Void, saw them making fifties-influenced dinner rock – like if David Bowie and My Chemical Romance had a musical baby. Having absolutely no idea where they would go next, the band has had all of us waiting in anxious anticipation, but we’re thrilled to report that Sanguivore is not only the darkest release from the band yet, it’s also the best.
The thing about Creeper that always fascinates us is their ability to make an entire record paint vivid imagery. Their last album cycle felt like entering a desolate small town in suburban America. With every track that imagery was engrained in the music. Their new album, the third LP installment, feels like getting bit by a vampire and living alone in an abandon church deep on the outskirts of Europe. Before we even dive into the concept, the aesthetic of the album is ever apparent through the instrumentation and not just the visuals. The band does goth-influenced music effortlessly, especially on Sanguivore. The album echos sentiments of fear and dread – all dropped in blood and soaked black with every song. This is how you properly evolve your band.
Sanguivore opens with a nine-minute epic titled “Further Than Forever” that builds and builds with every verse. Despite the track being so long, it never feels stale. Every repeated chorus feels unique because of its own, vastly different pre-chorus. There are some things that I have bashed other bands for doing, but if Creeper does it, they manage to do in thrilling ways.
I’ve always hated most music that features a monologue embedded into a track because it usually halts momentum. Dialogue here enhances this record immensely and add flavor to every moment. On the bridge of “Sacred Blasphemy,” the spoken words pushes towards the final chorus in a glorious key change that hits like a truck. The synths on “Black Heaven” feel almost like a Nine Inch Nails track – and that’s by no means a bad thing. Even the final piano driven “More Than Death” is so monumental. The album is a saga of emotions and sound, but also widely consistent.
If we’re talking about talent on this, though, Ian Miles needs a special shout out for stellar guitar work. “Lovers Let Astray” and “Chapel Gates” left me speechless. Will’s vocals are always a stand-out, but more than ever on this release. The pre-chorus of “Further Than Forever” sees him growling out his notes with a vicious spat at the end. We know he has infectious charisma, but we hear it here and it really sells the record. His suave vocal delivery on tracks like “Cry To Heaven” or “The Ballad of Spook & Mercy” are what really make these timeless. Hannah Greenwood kills it with the keys and backing vocals, as well, adding layers and textures to just about everything. The organs and synths scattered across the album create the atmosphere previously discussed. Jake Fogarty and Sean Scott also give their all on every track, as well. There isn’t a weak moment on this release or a weak link in this era. Every one of the Creeper members are firing with every ounce of musical talent they have.
Another aspect of the record that needs to be directed is the storytelling. Creeper are known for their heavy concept records and Sanguivore is no exception. The plot follows a vampire named Mercy and the havoc she causes with her new partner, Spook. You can follow the tale and hear that the music is more descriptive than ever. When Will sings on Mercy’s first kill upon a young bride and groom, the details are gory and horrifying. It’s breathtaking, too, even for the horror-punk genre. It’s the most direct story the band has ever approached. Sanguivore soars because of it.
Appropriately released on Friday the 13th (this October’s spookiest day), the record is truly the band’s best yet. It’s hard to think about how a band that thrives on reinventing themselves can do so often and successfully. While this album is a spooky experience that feels like putting a pumpkin on your head and bathing in blood under a full moon, it’s enjoyable for any season. That’s how good the songwriting is; it’s not just a halloween record. It’s a perfect album that’s made for anyone who shops for Blackcraft Cult clothing or hits up a Hot Topic store all year round.
PRE-SAVE THE NEW CREEPER RECORD RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW! IT DROPS ON FRIDAY!