Metal is often unrelenting, forceful and powerfully delivered meaning that getting a balance of heavy riffs, harshly defined vocals and interesting lyricism is key to crafting a great set of tracks. A consistent style in the way a band releases their tracks is the key to creating a sense of solidarity in sound and image, particularly as they evolve.
It is without doubt then that CREATURE want to create a very specific image about their band if their latest releases are anything to go by. An image of horror, despair and harshly violent clashes of style and sound are conjured up on their latest EP Hound. Ripples of violent guitars and a heavy, unrelenting drum beat rule much of the EP, which is somewhat of a diversion from the pre-existing blueprint the band had set for themselves - and this deviation is ultimately Hound's downfall.
Their debut EP HEX appeared to have a clearer, more defined sound but comparably Hound feels like an unnecessarily sharp left turn. It's a shame too, as Hound's predecessor developed dynamic layers of musicianship which had the potential of being built upon, and turned into something special.
This latest effort from the band though is almost a polar opposite to this, with slabs of ferocity that feel clumsily placed. First track 'Cold Man’s World' launches aggressively but soon becomes monotonous which is a shame considering CREATURE's penchant for intricate riffs as heard on HEX. This sets the tone for the rest of the tracks which form a continuous wall of noise with little variation to keep the listeners interests peaked. Final track 'Fool’s Curse' has glimpses of ethereal sound and metallic vocal which although more enjoyable become too little too late feature of the EP’s overall sound.
While CREATURE are at the right point in their careers where misplaced experimentation can be forgiven, it's hard to escape that Hound is a straight up misstep. A thought compounded by the hulking weight of almost every chorus present on the album overtaking any semblance of distinction across the tracks. If their first release offered a certain pathway for their discography to follow, it seems it has been lost in a hazily imagined pursuit for the heaviest riff over purposeful selection sonic quality.