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Progressive death metal (or progressive anything for that matter) is a genre of music that I actually go out of my way to avoid. It's just boring to my ears, and I'd rather be pummeled by Bolt Thrower-like grooves, submerged by the doomy excellence of Autopsy or mesmerized by the phenomenal music of a Dismember or a Convulse. But, there are always exceptions to any rule, and the Netherlands' own Creepmime is the exception to my own personal preference. There aren't any keyboard solos or piano interludes on "Shadows," nor are there any intricate structures that seem to go nowhere or terrible clean vocals thrown in, just incredibly solid death metal that compliments the Netherlands scene nicely.
While Asphyx are the kings of death/doom over in the Netherlands, Creepmime manages to conjure up some great melodies and riffs that have a very doomy edge to them. In fact, this whole record is based around midpaced riffs that are highly driven by melodies. "Soon Ripe, Soon Rotten" and "My Soul Flayed Bare" both have intros that feature fantastic melodies that are both memorable and atmospheric, while "The Fruits of Ill Virtue" and "Chinese Whispers" command the listener's attention with stellar midpaced riffs that are interwoven with top-notch melodic passages throughout. As with any band that tries to create a sort of aura, Creepmime does a brilliant job of bringing forth a dark and gloomy feeling that is most present on "Gather the Shattered," but there is also a subtle upbeat and almost happy vibe that can be heard throughout, and that's mainly because of the insane amount of melody present (And I don't mean that melo-death, Gothenburg kind of melody, that's terrible).
As you would expect from a progressive band, the bassist and drummer both get in some decent to great fills, but they never really command the music, as it should be. The soloing on this album is also fantastic, again as expected. The vocals are typical death metal fare, and they sound damn-near identical to Dave Ingram during his performance on "The Grand Leveller." Overall, "Shadows" isn't the most premier death metal album around, but it definitely stands out and is worth giving a listen if you're a fan of bands like Autopsy, diSEMBOWELMENT, Winter, Amorphis and the like.
"The Fruits of Ill Virtue"
"Suffer the Shadows"
"My Soul Flayed Bare"
Originally written for Nightmare Reality Webzine.
A hybrid of death metal and heavy metal played with a melodic doom metal style and atmosphere.
This is booming melodic doom metal that sets a contemplative melody of disconsolation that will serve like the background of the song and then undergo a series of tempo changes like a faster death metal band. The whole atmosphere is of aggravation yet unlike most doom metal, this music exudes a joyful however scrutinizing attitude towards life. The fundamental rhythms and tones aim not for depressive funeral metal but a meditative ambience where a slower pace and doom metal aesthetic is just the medium to what they wish to express. Instead of the typical “the world is pointless, I wish I was dead” attitude of bad doom metal, these guys think “we live in a seemingly dead world I wish I was alive”.
Lead guitar melodies possess a heavy metal feel to them, playfully bitter and sullen flow slowly to the front to set the mood, then gracefully fades to the background under the hoarse puffing growls like a similar Bolt Thrower. Then drums pick up on complexity and speed and weave an awesome web of multi rhythms and tempo changes with both punch and subtlety. Like if moving at slightly different pace, thunderous death metal phrases explode in a war like stroke before harmonious guitar solos wrap it all up in spectacular form before returning to the initial melodious woe.
All music is dark and rhythmically compelling, emotional but never dramatic, complex but eloquent, highly technical but never egocentric. In other words, it is both expressive and intelligent. Guitars are not so down tuned but sort of mid-range which work perfectly with the dissonant melodic lines that pervade the entire album and give it that doomish yet abrasive quality. Lyrics reflect a poetic diagnosis of the world and life. They are “truths” of society, the ego and self, which seek to root and explain the basis of pain, suffering and pessimism and the way these affect our lives with affliction but suggest that with logical thinking we might overcome the flaws that entrap us.
A joyful doom metal record that embraces life, played with technical death metal flair and heavy metal melody.