A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Cambridge’s Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats return with a KillerCam of a record on The Night Creeper!
Welcome to a new edition of Horrorscores, where we transform your waking thoughts into living nightmares.
Where would heavy metal be without the horror genre? Non-existent, most likely. Hell, Black Sabbath, who it could be argued created the genre, took their name from the Mario Bava classic from 1963. From occult and satanic visual references on the album sleeves, to lyrical references to Hammer Horror, ’80s slasher flicks, video nasties, horror and metal run in tandem, outlining the dark impulses that live in the dank basement of the Collective Unconscious.
The Night Creeper – the fourth LP from the Cambridge doom quartet counting their criminally under-circulated debut Volume 1 – tells the story of the titular character, The Night Creeper, a corrupt cop who turns to killing, and the resulting panic that follows in his bloody wake.
Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats are not re-inventing themselves, or the wheel, here, instead sticking to what they do best – a highly addictive mixture of classic late ’60s/early ’70s psychedelic doom garage metal mixed with the perfect amount of fuzzy stoner rock frenzy, mostly in the form of infectious, repetitious melodic guitar hooks.
The nighttime falls on “Waiting For Blood”, introducing our (anti)hero “in the darkness/waiting for blood”, with wave after wave of mighty dirty distorted guitars crashes down on your head, pummeling and caressing in equal measures, like velvet-wrapped hammers. The guitar walls gradually evolve into a twin-guitar harmonic attack, one of Uncle Acid’s trademarks and secrets of their infernal success, finally erupting into a moody, stately guitar solo, courtesy of lead axeman K. R. Starrs.
“Waiting For Blood” sets the mood, and the tempo, for the remaining 9 tracks, which follows in a similar stoner/doom state of mind. That is not to say, however, that The Night Creeper is boring or repetitive – quite the opposite, in fact. The devils are in the details, in the psychedelic production style, eerie ominous lyrics, and unholy acts of musical prowess.
It is to say, more correctly, that how much you enjoy The Night Creeper depends on how much you enjoy fuzzy stoner/doom rock. If you get into melody blended with the crushing power of the riff, you are likely to become obsessed (perhaps dangerously so).
“Murder Nights” follows the ominous mid-tempo vibe, with powerful pummeling headbanging drums giving way to a frenzied eruption, with the dual guitars totally synced up with a ritualistic tribal percussion, which is nearly Morricone-worthy. The track approximates the feeling of The Night Creeper slipping on his hood and becoming the demon in the darkness.
For those of us that love the power and ferocity of metal, Uncle Acid ask us to make difficult choices – relating to a psychopath. The powerful guitars are attractive, hypnotic, and lulling. You want to let them wash over you, again and again. The fuzz distortion smooths all the rough edges, becoming like pipe cleaners through yr neural synapses and wiping all thoughts. The repetition of the riffs become hypnotic, as yr head nods and you fall into a trance, as Starrs’ psychedelic Lennon-worthy vocals fill yr mind with images of blood and corruption.
In this way, The Night Creeper, follows in the tradition of classic slasher/video nasties, like William Lustig’s Maniac, as well as the remake, along with the twin-eyehole viewpoint of John Carpenter’s Halloween.
Let’s face it, we wouldn’t be interested in horror if we didn’t want to analyze difficult questions or consider atrocious realities. On one hand, horror is a haven for the unpopular, the misfits, the flotsam and jetsam of life. That’s not to say that you couldn’t be popular, beautiful, and well-liked and still get off on seeing crimson rivers of gore splashed across yr eyeholes over and over. I’m saying it’s more unlikely. There is a certain percentage of horror fanatics that clearly identify with the killer, playing out their revenge fantasies over and over, through the vicarious thrills of the silver screen.
Uncle Acid, on one hand, are asking us to consider this viewpoint, relating to this dirty corrupt cop, his bloodlust and the feeling of power of having people begging for their lives. On the other, however, Uncle Acid are merely referencing and re-creating the feeling of gathering together with your buddies, with pizza and yr beverage of choice, getting high out of yr mind and watching grimy ’70s slasher flicks and loving every second of it!
With Uncle Acid, the darkness has never sounded so good! You want, no need, to be there. The headbanging stoner grooves remain in the balladic mid-tempo range throughout, becoming a kind of aural seance, while the production flourishes – the flanged, phasing organs (“Waiting For Blood”, “Murder Nights”, “Yellow Moon”) meet gospel choirs and laidback acoustic grooves. Every moment of The Night Creeper sounds bloody awesome, the spell is never broken, making you want to return again and again.
The Night Creeper follows in the footsteps of classic doom purveyors like Pentagram or Candlemass, along with stoner recreationists like Orange Goblin, who i found myself thinking of repeatedly, while listening to this bloody gem.
The Night Creeper is a divisive record, with many loving it to pieces and howling its praises to the moon, while others claiming that UA have lost their way, that they’re repeating themselves or becoming too mellow.
Personally, i think they’re just finding their groove, and refining it to deadly perfection. And the little details keep things interesting, showing a wealth of ideas, as well as a strong, cohesive narrative concept.
For me, i love it! I’ve loved Uncle Acid since i first discovered them, and i’m stoked out of my ill mind that i have a new record to sink my fangs into and write about. I didn’t pay their last album, Mind Control, enough attention. The Night Creeper makes me want to go back and re-investigate their back catalog.
For those that are new to Uncle Acid’s nocturnal delights, The Night Creeper is a definitive statement and a great place to start. Uncle Acid have also taken to the road with this one, so keep your eyeballs peeled to see if Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats are coming your way!
For this reviewer: 💀💀💀💀 4 skulls
Favorite Tracks: Murder Nights, Yellow Moon, Slow Death
Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats – The Night Creeper
Got other horror-inspired music or soundtracks you think we should cover in Horrorscores? Let us know in the comments!