One ought to tread with caution when entering the world of hard rock band, Creeper. Though one ought not consider this to be entirely a warning…
Let’s set the scene, shall we? In 2017, a group enters the scene with some truly eccentric methods. The artists in question go by the genre of hard/horror rock (certainly not a go-to style of mine). Outside of this album alone, the group tends to leave a trail of themes and story threads involving some rather unsettling (if not fascinating) stories and images of sorts (though the album itself won’t hinge to heavily on those, as far as our review is concerned). And not just those, the album and its main areas of emphasis are bleak at best. What with statements such as, “I mean nothing to you now,” “Our love is dead,” “Loving you is killing me” and “Misery never goes out of style” standing out in grim form. What’s one to think of such oddities? I suppose I’m setting this scene in such a way as to shockingly tell you, I found this album truly transfixing, and at times, moving.
Now, rest assured, there are some challenging and perhaps questionable moments in this album that will be addressed. But first, I’d like to state just how truly innovative this album has been crafted. Artistically speaking, Creeper has bent over backwards to stand out and provide an original aesthetic in an industrial genre that, perhaps, isn’t quite as significant as it once was. I’m speaking even in relation to myself. I’ve done a rather decent job abstaining from the harder rock scene for the last 5+ years or so, but Creeper brought something new to the table. While streaming consistently throughout is a more theatrical and perhaps more garage sounding rock melody, there is an old-school homage direction that seems to be taking place as well. In the first two songs, as well as Room 309, the grit of Metallica and the volatility of Rise Against seems to be infused. In the more stripped down and (oddly enough) folksy sounding Crickets, one can find some emo-like influence of Fleetwood Mac. In my personal favorite Down Below and Winona Forever (which one might interpret it to be a tip of the hat towards Fall Out Boy), it feels as if you are taking a trip back to older Green Day years. Finally, heard throughout, one might sense the punk and theatrical bravura of My Chemical Romance. All these, and of course, their own fresh and engaging style, make for a truly astonishing album. No, hard rock is not one of my favorite genres, but I find this to be a near perfect and exciting album from start to finish.
Understand this, we have yet to get to the themes the album conveys. Keep in mind, this is a dark and dreary album. One with very little hope…but bearing in mind this singular hope is perhaps where the entirety of the album rests. I tend to think, based off the theatricality (and personal testimony) of the band, that Eternty, In Your Arms ought to be interpreted as an opera of sorts. Sure, there will be single and independent songs, but I feel as if the whole album has singular struggles, and that the story being told ought not be judged too harshly till one meets the climax (just as all good stories, or Operas for that matter, are told).
The album opens with the thought that “we are the calloused hearts” (which is a common phrase in their universe). Quite the introduction, isn’t it? Well, so begins what might be interpreted as typical goth and Hot Topic trending misfits who only muse on the dreariness of the world. And yes, constantly throughout is an apocalyptic type scene, all hinged on a broken relationship of sorts. But this idea of being calloused in heart seems to carry this cynical mindset throughout. They seem to be calloused to such areas as love, life, and even God. For what reasons? For starters, it is this heart tugging relationship that seems to be holding both parties down. Resulting in the reflection that “Your love is killing me,” and why? Perhaps from the excessive partying and drinking they are left to in their void. Perhaps from the constant allusions of infidelity in this relationship that have torn them apart. And even the difficulties life seems to be presenting to these broken and angry souls. Needless to say, these difficulties and challenges that have brought about this callous hearted relationship stir up some rather mature elements. Unfortunately, for starters, this said infidelity has a tendency to bring some of the tracks into the sensual category. While a handful of songs contain terms as “lovers” or discussing “lying down” (mostly in allegorical terms), there still are a few harsher examples. Black Rain mentions, “Do you recall when he had you undressed?” and Crickets proclaims, “She’s in your jeans.” Both examples seem to be more guilty and tragic proclamations, rather than just illicit innuendos. Unfortunately, Misery (one of the albums best) doesn’t have the same excuse when it admits to having memories of his ex in “her bra.” On top of this, life is in a sense described as hell once (Poison Pens). Also, images of frustrated adolescence choosing to put themselves in harm’s way and be destructive are once again themes throughout. And finally, in Room 309 (a place cautioned in their supposed alternate universe), they ponder the daunting question that many have asked before. They essentially ask, “If there is a God, why are our lives so bad?”
As I previously mentioned, it sure seems full of despair, doesn’t it? Seems full of negativity, don’t you find? A picture of questionable intent, at best. Yet, to some degree, that is the entire point. I think for that reason, this is an album that should be cautioned to younger ages. Yet for those seeking more from their music choices, this actually has a lot to offer. You see, when Creeper heard their lyrics were causing negative waves and mindsets (especially in the form of their lyrics “Misery never goes out of style”), interestingly enough, they rejected the notion that this direction was their intent. And they told their fans to look further to the meaning of the album, all found in the final track, I Choose To Live. Yes, this album has a handful of negative, pessimistic, and frustrated moments. Leading up to the concluding song, things are just as bitter and bleak as the album opens with. Yet, there are slowly small slivers of hope, maturity, and even confessions that the mess they’ve found themselves in came from their own demise. All this leads us to the declaration, “I choose to live.” In these last words of hope, as well as in a few scattered moments, there seems to be the recognition that life is better alongside and in one’s arms. In fact, it is in these arms that life brings purpose.
So, whose arms are these? I think the album is ambiguous enough in letting each listener determine what is the reason to live. For some, it might mean that this calloused relationship once again found fire, hope, and even commitment. For others, this could be an allegory of leaving a dead and harmful relationship to the past, and finding one who truly loves and values you. And yet, could it even be the arms of One in whom the purpose of life is evident? This is perhaps a naïve and overly hopeful interpretation. But at the very least, Creeper has left the door open, admitting that life truly has purpose, happiness, and value. It concludes, admittedly, not answering all the open-ended and hypothetical worm tainted cans it readily opens. Still, they close humbly enough saying they hardly hold all of life’s answers. Yes, the world has it’s dark, harsh, and miserable moments for sure, and maybe not all of them will be to your benefit or come with an answer. But one thing’s for certain, Creeper knows that there are still answers out there; answers that’ll make sense of this (at times) dark dark world.
8.5/10 (For younger audiences, 6/10)