It was only after admiring the cover for Creeping that I soon stumbled into a weird and tangled web of New Zealand based extreme metal. Creeping’s cover was made by handyman Jamie Saint Merat who not only plays drums for Ulcerate but also did design/sound for a bunch of related bands including Abystic Ritual and The House of Capricorn. Those two bands are sort of the two parts which make up Creeping. If a voucher from Iron Bonehead is not assurance for this band’s third full length is not enough, then put your trust in New Zealand’s ability to make no nonsense darkness.
If one travels all the way back to 2007, Creeping sounded almost like a different band. Funeral Crawl was a black/doom hybrid with dripping vocals and stonerish riffs. It was enjoyable in its own right. Today, the band is much more mature in its bleak outlook. The transition between Revenant‘s center three tracks, “Scythes Over My Grave,” “Cold Soil,” and “Drear” has a similar texture to Mgla and other grinding black metal bands in that layers of complexity make themselves available for anyone willing to sacrifice their own guarded hope. The final arch on the title track which closes the album is a gloomy swan dive into the abyss of dark clouds and bottomless waters. Creeping has managed to strike a nerve with focus which probably only came after years of internal suffering.
Finding a wonderful album is only made more exciting when it is connected to a well supported cast of professionals. Jamie Saint Merat artwork as well as production on Revenant has given the band the right lens in which the greys hit the perfect contrast. The 31 minute running time though feels a little short given the atmosphere which is created. In all honesty, I could probally listen to hours of woe and desperation. Perhaps 31 minutes is all he time I need in a world which has long extinguished light.