Picks: Creeper, NONE, Mastodon

There were probably a bunch of great albums we could have reviewed last week, but we have a confession. This week’s first album has been a real distraction. We’ve both been listening to it constantly, meaning nothing else really got a proper chance until this week, and we went to see the band live as well. It was exceptional. Elsewhere, the new Fange record, though not quite exceptional, is worth your time as this week’s bonus pick.

Creeper
Eternity, In Your Arms
Roadrunner Records
[Spotify]

They’ve done it. They’ve actually done it. Creeper’s EPs were so good, and their ambition so universal, that we’d be lying if we said there weren’t some trepidation about their debut full-length. Eternity, In Your Arms is indeed another step towards megastardom. But it’s brilliant. It’s beautifully crafted, punctuated with the punk of ‘Poison Pens’, ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Room 309’, but also hauntingly fragile in perfectly chosen places. Hannah Greenwood’s performance on ‘Crickets’ is powerful and yet raw and vulnerable, hallmarks that maintain credibility while opening up a pop world Creeper are built to inhabit.

NONE
NONE
Hypnotic Dirge Records
[Released April 11th]

NONE is the debut album by NONE, a viciously bleak atmospheric black metal band from America’s Pacific Northwest, and will be released in a week’s time. It’s not for the easily alienated but it has an awful lot in its favour. Its three lengthy tracks – ‘Cold’, ‘Wither’ and ‘Suffer’ – are involved, aggressive affairs that are gross, close and utterly absorbing. You won’t get much from these songs if you’re after an accessible vocal performance, but the use of vocals as a part of the overall soundscape is right on the money. Three simple notes provide an unexpected frailty throughout ‘Cold’ and it’s in those little touches that the atmosphere of this album really take hold.

Mastodon
Emperor Of Sand
Reprise Records
[Spotify]

I’ve always found Mastodon more an acquired taste than being especially difficult, and it’s a taste I’m yet to acquire. But when the southern titans put out a record it’s difficult to ignore. Emperor Of Sand has gone down very well indeed, and I’ve heard it said that if you like this band, you’ll like this record. The new album has some impossibly massive riffs and succeeds in transporting even my cynical soul into a world of Mastodon’s making. ‘Show Yourself’ is a monster, but where the band’s seventh full-length really grabs me is in its ability to marry its prog side to plenty of crunch, an ever-present intensity, and a bunch of songs – ‘Precious Stones’ perhaps chief among them – that are just downright lovable.

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