What’s old is new again; or it wants to be, at least. Over the past decade or so, there’e been an influx of bands that look to the forefathers of heavy metal and classic rock as the blueprint for the type of music they want to play. Bands such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Pentagram serve as some of the primary inspiration for this movement, and everything from the songwriting to the production style draws from the old way of doing things. Additionally, occult themes seem to play a big part in what these bands are doing. For example, take UK-based Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. Something of a cross between the bluesy doom of Sabbath and the classic pop rock of The Beatles, these occult doom rockers have only been at it for a total of six years, but they already have three full-length albums under their belt, and their latest opus The Night Creeper sees the band continuing to pay homage to their idols while continuing to do the things that make them more than just a rehash of things already done.
The Night Creeper certainly has the appeal of the classic doom metal albums. For starters, it sounds like it was recorded in 1970, and the warm, earthy production gives the album a certain charm other albums from that era are famous for. Uncle Acid, the band’s lead vocalist, clearly grew up listening to Ozzy and Alice Cooper, but rather than trying to be a copycat of them, he injects some of their sonic characteristics into his vocal style while maintaining one all his own. And of course, the fuzzed-out doom riffs are here in spades, laced with just enough melody to grab the new listener. Tracks such as “Inside” and the titular track showcase the band at their most comfortable, and they break up the fuzz with softer interludes such as “Yellow Moon,” which do help with the pacing of the album as a whole.
All this said, though, The Night Creeper just doesn’t live up to the precedent set by Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats’ previous albums, nor does it outdo the output by other bands in the same niche. Fellow contemporaries such as Witchcraft, Graveyard and even Ghost do what Uncle Acid are trying to with much more gusto, and unfortunately, there’s really no compelling reason here to listen to Uncle Acid over any of these other bands. That’s not to say that what Uncle Acid is doing is disingenuous; on the contrary, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats perfectly pay tribute to the heavy metal and rock bands of old that made people fall in love with this kind of music in the first place, and they do possess their own sonic characteristics that make them stand apart. However, the problem is that none of what Uncle Acid does is terribly interesting, especially when compared to some of their peers, and ultimately, nothing on The Night Creeper sticks out. It warrants a listen or two for fans of doom and classic rock, but not much more after that.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – The Night Creeper gets…