Creeping Death
Wretched Illusions

Well summbitch…As if I needed another reason to love Denton, Tx;  here comes Creeping Death, hot off the heels of their last EP, Specter of Death, with their full-length debut, Wretched Illusions. Besides being a cool place that I’ve always had great times in, whether playing shows with my own band, scouring records shops for heavy metal, comic shops for my superhero fix, or simply feeding my fat, bearded face, Denton has always provided when I roll through the D/FW metroplex. Now with Wretched Illusions, you can add  “home to one of the best death metal releases of 2019, and one of the better  death metal bands to emerge in the last decade” to that list of reasons I love Denton, Tx. Maybe I am a little biased, being that I’m Texas born and raised; I live in Texas, and I’ll most likely die in Texas. It simply is one of the last great state-pride places left in the U.S., so if that makes me biased towards Creeping Death, then so be it. Honestly though, that really isn’t the case, because Creeping Death is one hell of a fantastic listen if you’re a death metal enthusiast, especially one of the old-school variety.

The band’s bio references Wretched Illusions as “sludgy guitar toned, old school death metal riffing, and swinging pit friendly groove”, while listing influences from Blood Red Throne, Gorguts, and Grave , as well as (old) Sepultura and Bolt Thrower. A pretty impressive, and even bold list. But you know what? It’s not wrong. Wretched Illusions is all of that and a bit more. The band could easily add Temple of Void, Benediction, Hooded Menace, Vore, Gatecreeper, and Tomb Mold as added influences and acts that Creeping Death would feel right at home beside. In fact, Creeping Death remind me a lot of the impressive Tomb Mold, but better. No disrespect to the moldy tombsters, but Creeping Death‘s tone is better, their vocals are better, their grooves are better, and their riffs are flat out crushing. So if that or any of the aforementioned acts do anything for you, then Creeping Death and Wretched Illusions is going to be the bee’s knees for you, I promise.

Tearing through the gates, album opener “Ripping Through the Flesh” sets the tone of Wretched Illusions well and wastes no time in showing what Creeping Death is all about. Varied tempos of fat and thick riffage of death metal might pepper the track. There’s a plethora of change-ups, nice gutturaly shredded vocals, as well as a fantastic vibe of galloping old-school Cannibal Corpse groove and a catchy as hell vocal cadence. A bit speedier from the get-go, “Bloodlust Contamination” quickly shifts into that fattened crushing groove that dominates Wretched Illusions, while hitting with a dose of bonafide Texas thrash at the 1:40 mark before flawlessly melding back into death metal destruction. More change-ups hit within the track with a simple and slower, steamrolling groove closing the song out in nice form. “Sinner’s Touch” opens up with an upbeat death-thrash and some quality tremolo runs, with the 1:07 mark striking on some death-doom of the highest caliber. The song has a fantastic Temple of Void/Bolt Thrower structure to it that crushes.

Crushing is the best adjective I can probably come up with in describing any and all of Creeping Death‘s material. In fact, I don’t think I’ve used the word in one review as much as this one since the aforementioned Temple of Void and their Lords of Death review. As they say though, “if the shoe fits, wear it”, and Creeping Death wear the fuck out of that skull stomping, combat boot of destruction with pride and metal valor. Look at the album’s title track if you don’t believe me. “Wretched Illusions” is all about the crush, with catchy big beautiful riffs galore, seething gutturals, drums that blast, thrash, and doom, and change-ups aplenty, what more could you want?

Something else about Creeping Death, and their debut album, is how well the group come together as a singular presentation and identity; especially coupled with the ability of the creepy deathsters to shift numerous times within a track with such aplomb and contagious groove. You can easily forget that you’re listening to four individuals coming together, and instead begin to feel and imagine some mighty force or lumbering Balrog of a beast, and the sounds of Creeping Death is simply the lion’s roar of this force or beast. While the band may not necessarily be breaking new ground with their bludgeoning crush, they certainly are breaking necks with it. Wretched Illusions is a great death metal record that’s bound to give your trapezius quite the workout.

Throw in an impressive album cover and the fact that the band is now signed to eOne Entertainment, and it appears that Creeping Death are poised to make quite a name for themselves here in the last quarter of 2019. Only time will tell, but I see good things happening for the band and their death metal career. If future releases can capture the magic of Wretched Illusions, then Creeping Death is a name that we may just become very familiar with.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
October 18th, 2019

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