Release DetailsLABEL Shadow Flame Productions
RELEASED ON 10/4/2004
Creatures of Fear
posted on 11/2004 By:
Originally released in 2003, Creatures of Fear has received a handful of great reviews and for a good reason. It's creative and really accessible without appealing to kids with chain wallets. It's friendly, but not friendly to the point where you feel guilty for enjoying it. But playing symphonic black metal is no easy task. You've got five minute ballads about winter to write, keyboards to set up, and forests to explore. Despite these difficulties, England's Cruel Humanity manages to prevail and overcome those various obstacles. Somewhat.
Using the Finntroll beat from time to time, Cruel Humanity play with an incredible sense of melody - both skillfully and tastefully. Still though, they remain held back by a few key aspects. On tracks like "Creatures of Fear" and "So This Is Life", there's a fairly prominent dance beat that I'm sure will alienate a few people. I personally think it's done well, but really just needs stronger production. The vocals are weak overall - the black metal singing, which is actually pretty good, sounds flimsy and drowned out. The occasional male singing suffers from the same problem, giving off the impression that whoever sang the parts couldn't really sing that low very loudly, so it had to be layered to hell. The drums sound flat and the keyboards aren't processed enough. The first three minutes of "So This Is Life" sounds really progressive and spacey, almost like Ozric Tentacles, but once the dance-beat drops, it reverts back to its epic and mid-tempo riffing. It actually leaves me feeling like there's really something about this band I'm not catching, as they're more than capable musicians. "Mortal Journey", begins with some poor vocals with some sort of terrible effect and unfortunately continues throughout the rest of the song, never really giving you anything to hold on to. The leads that permeate the song are talented enough to make up for the rest of its shortcomings, but not enough to make for a good song.
It's a bit rough around the edges, but it's really reminiscent of some of the more boisterous acts of the mid-late nineties, like Covenant. Lacking the same pleasing production, I can't say I enjoy Creatures of Fear as much. Fortunately though, their progressive and highly melodic approach to black metal will surely win them over plenty of fans and might even win me over after they take some time to refine their craft.
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