An American author, poet, philosopher and historian by the name of Henry Thoreau once said “If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” Nowhere does that apply more than to Uncle Acid.
Back in 2012 Steel Druhm stumbled across a sinister little gem called Blood Lust. It wowed him with such force, it became one of his few TYMHM for that year. His quirky review, throwing about references to serial killers, stalkers and all other manner of horror caught my attention and before I knew which way was up, Uncle Acid‘s brand of 70’s retro doom had its hooks in me. Fast forward a year and out comes Mind Control. Steel seemed unimpressed by its coercive brainwashing attempts and as for myself, at best it ended up the kind of humdrum affair you turn to late at night as you stare at the ceiling and wait on sleep. As the saying went, I found some restful compensations scattered about that made up for the more tranquil path Uncle Acid took with Mind Control. My hope for The Night Creeper was a return to the inventiveness and energy of Blood Lust, unfortunately lightning’s a tough thing to capture once, let alone twice.
“Waiting For Blood” saunters in like a real creeper. The track feels laid back, like somebody biding their time, watching, waiting, in no hurry to make their presence known. The fuzzy riff-work in the intro calls to mind the early days of Pentagram before morphing into straight up Sabbath-worship. Vocals are layered with similar murk to those of Pentagram‘s Relentless, and they come across with the sedation of Mind Control rather than the full-force of Blood Lust. The track ends with some impressive soloing at the hand of axeman Yotam Rubinger. The solo, while lacking memorable catchiness, packs dazzling showmanship reminiscent of Randy Rhoads, and if you close your eyes, you can almost picture the flourish it would play out with on stage.
Based on “Waiting For Blood” you’d be right in assuming The Night Creeper is more Mind Control than Blood Lust – really, it’s only “Downtown” and “Inside” that continue the unique sound Uncle Acid worked towards in their second album. The Night Creeper showcases Uncle Acid‘s Pentagram and Sabbath worship to the hilt and it works well outside of the fact that the album drags sometimes and it all feels done before. If you stick with it and really listen as suggested by Mr. Thoreau, some compensations come into earshot. There’s the Pet The Preacher (“Kamikaze Knight”) diversion that lurks in the back portion of “Murder Nights” and the Pink Floyd-like experiment of “Yellow Moon” and “Slow Death.” And if those don’t grab you, there’s the Final Fantasy VII and Watain (“They Rode On”) suggestion that also courses through “Yellow Moon,” making it the most noticeable moment on the album.
Looking beyond the sedative-like pacing of most of The Night Creeper‘s content, the fact that Uncle Acid’s bizarre falsetto is so buried and hard to discern, it’s the bloated track length and the overall number of tracks that got to me most. Blood Lust has a neat and tidy eight tracks with none pushing much past the 7-minute mark. Mind Control included an additional track and now The Night Creeper takes it a step further pushing towards ten (including hidden offering “Black Motorcade”) with “Slow Death” living up to its name and pushing beyond the nine minute mark. That’s led me to just one conclusion: Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats is best delivered in small doses.
With cover art that could be mistaken for Banksy’s street art or maybe a film noir poster, and a disturbing concept that’s delivered one breadcrumb at a time, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats have created quite the tale. With so much thought going into The Night Creeper and the confusingly good production dynamics, I wanted to like it as least as much as I enjoyed the band’s earlier work. Unfortunately, despite listening almost constantly for the better part of the last few weeks, I still have a tough time getting past the bloat and monotony and have to concede that I’m only experiencing moments of enjoyment here and there. Sad panda is sad.