Close your eyes for a moment and visualize a room full of children. These children are just like any other in existence, the difference being that they’ve come together for a brave purpose. They’ve come to share their stories of the difficulties they’ve faced in life. Some have been beaten, broken and betrayed… others have been exploited and made to feel as if they’re worthless. Their only goal is to share their stories, in hopes that the same never happens to another. Growing up, life is filled with hardships but it’s these hardships that bond us together, forcing us to stand up and speak out. Now, take the incredibly emotional scene I’ve described and set it to music. What you’ll get is anger, bitterness, sadness and angst in full force. This is what you’ll hear when you spin The Creatures In Secret‘s debut album, The Gathering. This Knoxville quintet weaves an aural tale of despair, hoping to instill hope into their listeners, especially those who have been through the same things. They have a strong message to spread and it starts here.
Being a debut album, I, naturally, expected it to be a little rough around the edges. However, these guys have no problem displaying their immense talent from the start. It did take me a couple of listens to get into vocalist Adam Penland’s clean vocals but they’re not bad…. rather, I think I’d describe them as an acquired taste. It’s hard to say that the instrumentation is anything out of the ordinary but there are some really fun riffs, created by guitarists Allen Cox and Casey Rice. I think my favorite part of the band, as a whole, is how cohesive they sound. While you can clearly tell that they are new to the scene, it’s not an off-putting sound at all. The album is fairly aggressive, utilizing Penland’s range in screaming to its full potential, while on the other hand… his cleans need a bit of range, as they sound fairly monotone and, thus, may get boring after awhile. The album covers a wide range of subjects from abuse and heartbreak to suicidal thoughts and doubting oneself. Close your eyes, take yourself back to the scene I described earlier and imagine each of these songs coming from the perspective of a child in that room. Now, take into account the amount of emotion that each child feels… magnify that ten-fold… your stomach begins to turn, your eyes well up with tears and you feel rage for someone you don’t even know. Why? This is how music works, this is how the band intends to make the listener feel and, in that regard, they succeed.
While I wasn’t expecting to like this album as much as I do, it quickly grew on me. I found myself listening to it day after day, getting something more out of it with each listen. If you’re a big fan of bands with heavy music, that have a positive message to spread and who are truly passionate about what they do… look no further than The Creatures in Secret. If you’ve ever been through any type of hardship, if you feel like you’re alone and that no one understands you or the things you’ve been through… The Gathering is especially for you. Please, do yourselves a favor and pick this album up! My only question remains… if their debut is this good, what’s next for them? Stay tuned because I have a feeling we’ll find out sooner than later!
“Univited (The Christmas Party),” “Me, Myself and I,” “Everybody Gets One,” “Where to Begin”