Given the mainstream success of Ghost, it’s not surprising to see a wave of copycat acts beginning to rise like that drunk idiot who won’t sit down during a key at-bat of the ALCS. This particular trio checks all the boxes: masks, robes, melodic vocals and Satanic themes. They’ve even got a thinly-veiled promotional website trying to paint them as a dangerous cult. Hailing from New Orleans, Cretus also has a bit of sludge cred, having opened for Down locally—although musically, they remind me more of a poor man’s punk-rock rendition of Brimstone Coven (a criminally underrated occult-rock act that deserves a lot more attention than they currently get… but I digress).
This five-song EP opens with “Price of Immortality,” a leadoff single that spawned an overly long music video with no shortage of gratuitous female nudity. (I’ll let you look that one up for yourself.) Its riffs say mid-paced doom/thrash a la Candlemass, albeit with a buncha karate-choppable breakdowns thrown in. Vocals are much more like Ghost, with a dash of Pepper Keenan, who’s been on record supporting the band. Hey, we don’t know who’s behind the masks or anything… 😉
“Darkness Bites” pushes the pace even further to full-on thrash zone, with some solid, mid-paced, stop-start riffs to bang yer head to between pedal-to-the-metal speed freakouts and a very decent doomy breakdown that again recalls Robert Lowe era Candlemass. Come to think of it, the vocalist sounds sorta like a poor man’s Rob Lowe, too…
“What I Will” slows things down considerably with the token spooky/haunting intro before adapting a Crowbaresque march complete with mid-paced double-kick drumming, then transitioning into a true-doom chorus. Plenty of NOLA on this one, aside from the singing. “The Leader” is a country twang away from cowpunk; this number fucking shreds like Motorhead, with the eerie vocals sounding all the more outta place, except on the pseudo-epic chorus.
“Little Children” begins with a rainfall effect and some overdramatic classical-style guitar. I’m half-expecting a half-hearted “Satan Prayer,” but what we get instead is initially more reminiscent of an ’80s Dokken “boys don’t cry” ballad or 1990s Megadeth when Mustaine got all emotional ‘n shit… although they eventually ditch the tears for some half-decent mid-tempo thrash. Maybe it’s supposed to be the single?
Y’know, as much as I wanted to just trash this (I’m not exactly Ghost’s biggest fan), I gotta say, Cretus holds up in its own right. If only they’d picked a better gimmick… *sigh*