Progressive death metal (or progressive anything for that matter) is a genre of music that I actually go out of my way to avoid. It's just boring to my ears, and I'd rather be pummeled by Bolt Thrower-like grooves, submerged by the doomy excellence of Autopsy or mesmerized by the phenomenal music of a Dismember or a Convulse. But, there are always exceptions to any rule, and the Netherlands' own Creepmime is the exception to my own personal preference. There aren't any keyboard solos or piano interludes on "Shadows," nor are there any intricate structures that seem to go nowhere or terrible clean vocals thrown in, just incredibly solid death metal that compliments the Netherlands scene nicely.
While Asphyx are the kings of death/doom over in the Netherlands, Creepmime manages to conjure up some great melodies and riffs that have a very doomy edge to them. In fact, this whole record is based around midpaced riffs that are highly driven by melodies. "Soon Ripe, Soon Rotten" and "My Soul Flayed Bare" both have intros that feature fantastic melodies that are both memorable and atmospheric, while "The Fruits of Ill Virtue" and "Chinese Whispers" command the listener's attention with stellar midpaced riffs that are interwoven with top-notch melodic passages throughout. As with any band that tries to create a sort of aura, Creepmime does a brilliant job of bringing forth a dark and gloomy feeling that is most present on "Gather the Shattered," but there is also a subtle upbeat and almost happy vibe that can be heard throughout, and that's mainly because of the insane amount of melody present (And I don't mean that melo-death, Gothenburg kind of melody, that's terrible).
As you would expect from a progressive band, the bassist and drummer both get in some decent to great fills, but they never really command the music, as it should be. The soloing on this album is also fantastic, again as expected. The vocals are typical death metal fare, and they sound damn-near identical to Dave Ingram during his performance on "The Grand Leveller." Overall, "Shadows" isn't the most premier death metal album around, but it definitely stands out and is worth giving a listen if you're a fan of bands like Autopsy, diSEMBOWELMENT, Winter, Amorphis and the like.
"The Fruits of Ill Virtue"
"Suffer the Shadows"
"My Soul Flayed Bare"