‘The Callous Heart’ was a glorious record of escape. It saw Creeper throw out an invitation to join their gang with big songs about bigger unity and, well, it was hard to say no. ‘The Stranger’, a sequel in-kind, deals with the aftermath.
Opening with the mournful procession of ‘The Secret Society’, the band soon launch into sky-high chants of “because we’re young” alongside admissions that “The Callous Heart rose and fell,” and “we don’t feel anything”. Front to the back, Creeper are building something new.
From the sleeping beauty of ‘Black Mass’ through the open-book confession of ‘Misery’ until the final defeated moments of ‘Astral Projections’, ‘The Stranger’ cuts deeper, is darker and more striking that anything the band have gone near before. It’s in those shadows that Creeper flourish. The record may deal in defeat but ‘The Stranger’ is nothing but a triumph.