Creak- Depth Perception (Album Review)

Aug. 18, 2023


Share This Review


Connect with Creak


Listen to Creak

Nu-metal and metalcore never really went away over the years, but they’re both experiencing a boom in popularity right now as younger bands try their hand at putting a spin on the styles.  Newcastle based Creak is one of the latest to join the fray, having released an EP titled Bitter Picture before this year’s Depth Perception full length.  Channeling a similar amount of chaotic riffs and grooves as some of their peers, Creak also incorporates bursts of haunting atmosphere and softer yet still tense moments in an attempt to differentiate themselves.  This does prove to work in their favor, giving listeners a respite from the scorching riffs and pummeling drums while still keeping them on the edge of their seat.  It does have some sections that drag and not every song fully stands out, but this remains a strong showing from a band with potential to break free from the pack.

From the beginning of “Crossroads”, there are already denser layers of sound that make Depth Perception feel immense.  The focus of the instrumentation early on is all-out destruction as the band whips through low end grooves and faster attacks that have that classic metalcore fire to them, but the top layers add in some eerier melodies and elements that channel a bit of a horror movie soundtrack vibe.  The first real taste you get of this differing approach from Creak is on the interlude “An Endless Black”, which uses haunting melodies and sound effects in a way that comes through like a cross between a David Lynch soundtrack and Akira Yamaoka’s work on Silent Hill.  It’s brief, but effective, and is continued on the intro to “Doomed” before the abrasive riffing comes roaring back in.  There are a lot of standout riffs and transitions early on that channel similar rage as recent releases from bands like Chamber, but there are a few more dips into nu-metal with both the tonality and riff structure.  Starting with “Restless Dreams”, Creak starts incorporating a bit more of the alt-metal side with some slower burning grooves and melodies that have a drearier yet still heavy feel to them.  I appreciate the variety that some of these songs give the material, but admittedly some of the slower ones don’t quite reach their full potential.  “Left to Heaven” wallows in an eerier melody and darker vibe but removes some of the tension and I personally was hoping for a more impactful climax rather than the way it just fades out.  The band tries to incorporate this into the metalcore/hardcore songs on “The Early Hours Know My Secrets”, but it drags on for just a bit too long.  These aren’t necessarily bad songs by any means, but when the rest of Depth Perception is effective in both its ability to pummel listeners and keep them on edge with moodier soundscapes, it does slightly dampen the impact.

Where a lot of metalcore settles into a comfortable pattern when it comes to transitioning between harsh screaming and clean singing, Creak switches things up a bit more and let the screaming dominate for the first few songs.  Vocalist Jack Dunn manages to destroy everything in his path on songs like “Crossroads” “Doomed”, and the title track, where his screams are so abrasive that they sometimes crack and distort over the recording.  It’s this type of all-out aggression that makes this type of music so appealing, and Creak nails it when it comes to weaponizing their vocal work.  “Restless Dreams” brings the first appearance of singing, and this adds a melancholic and emotive side to the performance that fits well.  It is used sparingly, with “Left to Heaven” switching entirely over to singing, but it shows that the band is willing to try different things.  If Creak can continue to expand upon this side of their vocal performance and keep that sense of unpredictability, they’ll have another distinguishing feature to their material.

There’s a lot to like about Depth Perception, as it brings the chaotic and scorching riffing of metalcore but injects some of the lower tunings and frenetic energy of nu-metal.  Add in some darker soundscapes and interludes over top of that which add more of a haunting horror soundtrack vibe, and you have an effective debut.  The moves into softer, slower melodies and some more straightforward riffing don’t always hit the mark, but this is still a strong showing and with a few more tweaks and experimentation I think Creak will reach even greater heights by album two.  Depth Perception is available from Prosthetic Records.

-Review by Chris Dahlberg