Creeper are back with their third studio album, Sanguivore, an ode to rebirth, rock operas and Vampires. A concept album that harkens back to Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s classic Bat Out of Hell, Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Picture Show and more recently My Chemical Romance’s Welcome To The Black Parade, this feels like it hits the mark over and over again.
The goth-punk outfit were their influences on their sleeves, or as singer Gould put it “We’ve made them into our jackets”. With a long list of influences on this album, it has created maybe the group’s best albums to date. They site The Sisters of Mercy, Danzig, the Damned, the Cult, Jim Steinman’s Bad for Good, the Misfits, Meat Loaf, Nick Cave, Bonnie Tyler, Gary Numan and Depeche Mode. There is also a little Joy Division and David Bowie here too. Jim Steinmen’s influence can be heard throughout this record and it’s not hard to see why, he was one of the greatest and underrated creative musicians and songwriters in rock.
The band chose to work with producer Tom Delgety who has previously worked with Ghost on their Popestar and Prequelle releases. This was definitely a good choice as Delgety feels like one of the only people that could bring this deeply dark and epic story to life the way Creeper would want. And he does a fantastic job here.
A concept album about vampires does it work, hell yeah it does. Now going as William von Gould, for this album cycle at least, spoke to Kerrang! about the new album:
We’d always planned to do a vampire record. We’d been thinking about it for a couple of years and knew that now was a good place to go after where the last one left off. We wanted to make something darker than we’d ever made before.
Creeper’s Sanguivore Is A Vampiric Dream & A Darkley Sweet Nightmare
Sanguivores are animals that nourish on or consume other animals’ blood. Sanguivores include leeches, female mosquitoes, and vampire bats. Some sanguivorous creatures, called obligate sanguivores, nourish on other food products other than blood.
The opening track Further Than Forever is a darkley epic opener, running for just over nine minutes and embraces Will and Ian’s love for Jim Steinman’s work while also having a little Phantom of the Opera in there. It is a hauntingly beautiful track that feels like three songs in one, effortlessly moving the narrative along and setting the scene for the co-dependent love story between Mercy and Spook.
Cry To Heaven comes next with its haunting choir-like vocals before we get to meet Mercy and discover what she is all about. It’s darkly satisfying and sexy thanks to Will Gould’s growling vocals, which should excite fans of the band, it is definitely making it onto a playlist or two. Hannah Greenwood’s vocals here are also incredible and really builds up that rock opera vibe, her wailing is what makes Creeper truly stand out from other bands who try to be spooky and cool. Creeper don’t need to try, they just are.
We have two main characters called Spook and Mercy and a gang called the Ghost Brigade,” explaining that lead single “Cry to Heaven” introduces Mercy, a “female vampire who’s been around for 1,000 years … seducing people then killing themKerrang! interview with William von Gould of Creeper
Sacred Blasphemy is punky as hell, It is the song you can hear the Misfits influence the most, while also embracing that epic sound from the previous songs. The inclusion of spoken word moments is something I really appreciate and was used expertly on their American Noir EP. Here though unlike their previous release, it is integrated into their songs, giving it more omth. This is also expertly used in Further Than Forever.
The Ballad Of Spook & Mercy is a slow ballad, in the vein of Nick Cave, that really puts focus on the lyrical content and Gould’s beautifully dark vocals. He tells the story of these two co-dependent lovers in a way that makes you feel you have been through it too. The guitar solo is a work of art that doesn’t feel out of place, it moves the song and story along without needing words.
Want some dark synth rock then Lovers Led Astray is the song for you. it;’s up tempo at points and then slows right down with more beautiful vocal harmonies from Greenwood, who is a standout on this record. You have Nick Cave, you have Depeche Mode, you have Gary Nuwman and you have a song that might become a classic from this band.
Teenage Sacrifice feels very Misfits, very Danzig, very Heavy Metal and very Cool. Gould and Greenwood yet again show off their vocal prowess and ability to craft stunning harmonies that wouldn’t feel out of place in a musical. More choir-like chants take us to church, admittedly a dark church draped in black and red with candles dripping wax everywhere, but to church nonetheless. Actually, that is a church I can get behind, to be honest.
Old school punk that shouts loud and embraces the influences of The Damned and The Cult. Chapel Gates also has a My Chemical Romance feel about it, which is never a bad thing, as Gould said in Metal Hammer just this week “Emo had died a death, and I missed it”. He might missed it but with this track, Creeper brings it back to life, like the vampires they are singing about.
The Abyss is a short instrumental interlude before we reach the last two songs on this record. Black Heaven is a dark wave masterpiece that feels like something you would dance to in an underground goth club. It’s straight out of the 80s with hints of Misfits and The Damned in it’s sound and production. I darkly marvellous exploration into the story that is coming to a close between Mercy and Spook.
More Than Death ends the album on a sombre note, another balled but done in Creeper’s way and oh, it is a heartbreaking piece. You can hear the influence of their producer, Delgety, who seems to go with a darkly heartbreaking piece at the end of the albums he produces. Life Eternal on Prequelle anyone? You can hear yet again the Jim Steinman influence, it’s like a full circle moment for the album.
Sanguivore is a beautifully crafted masterpiece that combines big bombastic rock opera moments, goth punk sensibility and a darkly romantic idea of love, life, redemption and death.