Album: Manipulator [EP]
Natural disasters, as of a poll taken in late 2012, are the 7th most common fear in North America–and after all, why shouldn’t they be? Even I, having lived in mundane Michigan my entire life, fear them to an unreasonable degree. Packed with all of the bitterness and dissent that Mother Nature has to offer, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes are among the most foreboding things that can be found naturally on this planet–that is, until Creacia came along. Straight out of Syracuse, New York, Creacia give you Manipulator, an EP packed so densely with stunningly heavy and wondrously beautiful progressive metalcore, it’s in the running to be the eighth wonder of the world. However, Manipulator is just as deadly as it is beautiful–as with all truly impressive storms, this EP can only be truly quantified by how crushingly heavy and malignantly evil it can be.
Where some storms might start subtly, the monsoon that is Manipulator strikes without warning. There is no “drizzle,” or is there any distant thundering. Rather, a sudden downpour of spine-tingling aggression. “Defeater” is a chimeric beast of a track, kicking off with savage, pounding drums which give way to delicately written and wondrously intertwined riffs. While some moments of sheer, flesh tearing abandon and brutality might be briefly heard, “Defeater” and it’s successor “Skin and Bones” are tracks which focus much more on ethereal and transient harmonization. The drums are punchy and splashy without taking center stage, while the vocals are diverse but not necessarily upstaging anything. All the while, the guitars riff and shred away, using technically influenced and proficiently played melodies, some of which wouldn’t be out of place on The Ghost Inside’s Returners. Rather than beefy, headstrong bitterness, throughout the first two tracks, the listener truly gets a feel for all of the passion Creacia have to offer.
Once “Manipulator” begins, the listener can feel a change in the wind. Where there was once a plethora of passion and marvel, there is a more ominous sheer of destruction and misanthropy. Passionate, heartfelt leads take a backseat to deep, sediment-shifting chugs and greater, more visceral vocal variety. The storm thickens. Mere flakes of hail morph into chunks. Errant flecks of lightning become great bolts which split the sky. Distant claps of thunder shake the earth with sheer aural force. The aggression and destruction Creacia wished to impart upon the listener is finally upon them. While the EP’s title track is a transitional masterpiece, the focal point of the relentless attack that is Manipulator is seen in the closing seconds of “Messengers” and throughout “Unworthy.” “Messengers” has, to put it bluntly, one of the most unexpectedly heavy breakdowns to come from a metalcore release that I’ve ever heard. This same tooth-breaking, beat-down hardcore feel is pervasive throughout “Unworthy,” where bitterness and bold-faced anger take the throne. Here, it is the stunning, deep pounding of the drums and the crushing, downtuned chug of the guitars meshing wonderfully with stellar, speedy riffs and diverse vocal assaults which keep the listener engaged.
Every storm, however, must subside. Be it after hours, days, or weeks, it simply cannot sustain itself to impose indefinitely. This is the role of “Cold Hands, Warm Hearts.” A beautiful closing track which takes “Defeater”’s passion and “Messengers’” heaviness, “Cold Hands, Warm Hearts” is an idyllic masterpiece which shows the band embracing melodic, heart-felt hardcore with straightforward, technically-fueled metalcore. In this manner, the storm that is Manipulator goes out with one last unmistakable bang. Combining riffs that can only be described as Edenic, with vocals that fit perfectly with every chug and every riff, this track is the only true way such a beautifully destructive EP could come to a close. Featuring solos, two-steppy verses, a stunning, peaceful interlude and a positive, crushing (or positively crushing) breakdown to top it all off, this track alone could be the reason Creacia prove themselves to be beyond the likes of nameless, faceless metalcore bands. It is not only “Cold Hands, Warm Hearts’” standalone beauty which makes it worthwhile, but rather, it’s purpose as a capstone to the whole experience that is Manipulator.
Having never had to live through a tsunami, hurricane, monsoon or earthquake, I have to be honest: I have no idea what it’s like. I can only imagine, however, that it’s similar in nature to Creacia’s Manipulator. Errant aggression and energy create a picture that might be overwhelming when viewed from inside, but, from afar, is truly a beautiful, miraculous experience.
For Fans Of: Demoraliser, The Ghost Inside, August Burns Red, Carcer City
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism