Ever since the whole For Today incident regarding the homophobic statements made by Mike Reynolds earlier in the year, things regarding Christian metal have been a little tense. I'm one to say let bygones be bygones, especially since the guitarist ceases to be in the band any longer and reparations have been made between the band and their fan base. On the whole notion of Christian bands in the metal scene, today's review from this ever so absent reviewer is bound to rekindle some of the love between metal fans and the Christian spirit in said music.
Today's review comes to us from a band that is not necessarily new, but neither necessarily old and familiar in the metal scene, regardless if it's Christian or not. Creations, the five-piece Christian hardcore/metal band hailing from Sydney, AUS that re-located to Jacksonville, NC., are unveiling their sophomore full length titled Unworthy/Humility due out in stores on June 11. Creations has been preaching the word of God under said name for only a few years now, but with all the members having previously been involved in different bands ranging from different coasts of the world, it's safe to say that they've embedded their commitment to their lord and to preaching their commitment in any musical endeavor they enter into. Most notably is vocalist Thomas Hirst's addition to Creations. Any fans of Christian deathcore band The Gun Show will be able to recognize his undeniably similar vocal style and use of "preach-talking" in the beginning, middle and ends of his bands' songs.
While I've had my complaints about Mediaskare Records and their ability to somehow have every single band on their roster have their albums be recorded, mastered and finished at an almost molasses-like pace, I do respect them for picking up Creations and giving them the exposure they deserve. Unworthy/Humility sort of gave me what I expected from The Gun Show with some more "preach-talking" added and some guest vocalists that blew this album out of the water for me. I wasn't expecting much except some generic metalcore infused with the word of God in every single track; instead, what I received was some relaxing and almost melodic riffs mixed alongside with some amazing buildups to breakdowns and next tracks, as well as some fitting and well done vocal ranges.
I've been a huge fan of everything The Gun Show has done, so to get another chance to hear what Thomas Hirst has been up to while TGS is on what seems to be an indefinite hiatus is definitely a bonus for me. The album starts off with slow and relaxing preaching, which then flows into the actual sound the band is going for. I'm not going to complain and rant about the preachy nature of the album and how it's "not my style" and all that mumbo jumbo. Instead, I'll see past that and review with an unbiased opinion and focus on the music in regards to sound and technicality. Tracks three, four and five all featuring different vocalists ranging from the unbelievably talented and heavy Brook Reeves of Impending Doom on track four; to Dean from the legendary With Blood Comes Cleansing (that any fan of older deathcore has come to love and appreciate) on track number three; to the ex-vocalist of Creations, Michael Foss, throwing down the heavy on track five. My only complaint with these guest vocals is that they should have spread them out throughout the entire album rather than having all three right after each other and getting them out of the way too soon. It makes you focus too much on the different voices you're hearing rather than the primary vocals of Thomas Hirst.
The tracks on the album are all titled differently – as one obviously does on an album – but rather than keeping it like that, the boys in Creations have decided to do the ever so popular "second titles" to each track in parentheses are either giving us a better understanding of what each track is lyrically talking about. It's a nice little touch thrown in that has been done before and will continue to be done, but it gives the album a little more of personalized touch.
What surprised me about Creations was just how technical this album was in terms of instrumentals. I didn't think they'd be ones to throw in guitar solos and some sheer shredding in and at the end of some of the tracks. The 33-minute album definitely throws something your way that I nor most people would have expected to get from Creations. The crushing and familiar vocals of Tom Hirst was a bittersweet reminder of how much I loved The Gun Show's albums, and also a reminder that he still has it and regardless of what band he is in, he can bring the ruckus. As for the other four members of Creations, they've solidified a spot in my heart as being one of the few Christian bands that I can listen to and respect their message because the music they put on the front lines of each lyrical onslaught is enough to satisfy even some of the most critical music goers.
Negative aspects of the album that can be pointed out could be the over abundance of preaching that some may find too preachy or annoying as well as the use of the guest vocalists that could have been spread out much more appropriately throughout the album. The lyrical content was typical for the religious ties that each member holds close to them, so there wasn't much to expect out of that. Some of the tracks contained a little too much of the "preaching lead-up" to the breakdowns in said songs. I was all for it when it came to the first couple of times, but after that, it just became an incredibly overused aspect of the album that could easily get annoying to an avid listener. Talking lead-ups are always a good way to get the listener a little extra pumped up before it actually hits, but do it in moderation. Regardless, Unworthy/Humility is a great album that has replay value, and the heavy hitting breakdowns are enough to quench metal fans' thirst for something mind-numbing.