Trick or Treat – Creepy Symphonies Review

Even though I have pigeonholed myself as the album art guy around here, when I’m selecting promos, I actually don’t often select an album based on the art. I usually go by one of three methods: completely blind (either random or letting a colleague select), selecting straight from the list (where the only information I have is artist, title, genre and label), or cherry picking (where I listen to singles until I find something I think I’ll like). Trick or Treat is an exception, because just look at this goofy-ass cartoon cover! Either this will be stupid enough to work, like Nanowar of Steel, or it’ll be too stupid to work, like most power metal. So which one is it?

I’ll be honest, I did expect disaster, but Creepy Symphonies disappointed me by being much better than anything in their packaging suggests. This is Trick or Treat’s 7th full-length, and it combines all the self-assuredness of 20 years of experience with an exhilarating amount of gleeful enthusiasm. As the band got their initial start as a Helloween cover band,1 the influence of the German colossus is obvious, especially in vocalist Alessandro Conti (Twilight Force). His Michael Kiske imitation is so spot on I’d declare it to be proof of reincarnation if Kiske had been dead. But the addition of Rhapsody-esque touches of symphonic heroism and an Angra-like sense of melody2 ensure the album is more than just a clone.

It must be said, though; Creepy Symphonies is a bit frontloaded. “Creepy Symphony” is a pitch-perfect opener, with a bit of snarky theatricality and a lot of infectious energy. “Have a Nice Judgment Day” has a chorus that’s both exceedingly silly and impossibly catchy, and “Crazy” is a fun and upbeat rebellion against the wage-slave life. Trick or Treat’s endless supply of ecstasy is its greatest strength, but that also means slowing down counteracts this flow. “Peter Pan Syndrome (Keep Alive)” is the earliest example of this, and its “We are the World” rating is too high to be wholly enjoyable. But “April,” a love song for April O’Neill from the perspective of one of the Ninja Turtles, is the worst example, a track so mawkish no tongue could be far enough in the cheek to save it.

The scales do tip in the band’s favor on the whole, though. It’s all a bit formulaic, sure: it’s telling that 8 out of 9 tracks are almost the exact same length, the exception being the 12-minute He-Man-themed epic closer, which is admittedly a bit overlong altogether. But it’s hard not to root for a band that’s so earnest and spirited. Trick or Treat is relentlessly upbeat and capable of dragging me onto their rainbow against my will with a goofy grin plastered on my face. Whilst a steady stream of sonic MDMA is not enough to do that by itself, the strength of its hooks and songwriting ensure any random track can take over my brain at any time of day. The production, polished to a glossy sheen, helps the cheese go down even smoother while serving as a deterrent for anyone who needs even a modicum of grit in their music.

Creepy Symphonies is as easily digestible as power metal gets. If that makes it a little slight, that’s a feature, not a bug. The members of Trick or Treat don’t care much for emotional depth or musical complexity. Like the girls of the song, they just wanna have fun, and with material as addictively catchy as this, fun is easy to have. Sometimes they may lose sight of their biggest strengths, and sometimes the album buckles under the weight of its own cheese. But without fail, no matter how my day is going, I come away from every spin feeling a bit better than I did before. That’s what makes Creepy Symphonies worthwhile.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Scarlet Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 1st, 2022

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Trick or Treat, Helloween, you get it.
  2. “Escape from Reality” could have been straight off Rebirth.
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