Widower Dark Ambient The Creeping Man Whenever I sit down and listen to a dark ambient or drone album, I do expect to hear some trademarks of the genre; lengthy synth lines of a moody or depressive atmosphere will be abundant. It wouldn't be dark ambient or drone music if that weren't the case. However, in order to stand out from the crowd, an artist needs much more than just synth lines layered on top of one another. What's important in dark ambient and drone releases is what's in between those layers; textures and samples that further inhabit my brain with thoughts of a different environment, place, or world. To give examples of such works that do the trick, I look to the likes of Tineidae's 2020 album "Exo", which brought me to an abandoned mothership; Worms of the Earth's 2015 album "Sitra Achra", which gave out beautiful but dark rituals, and Paranoia Inducta's 2014 album "Maze of Death" which brought me through the gates of Heaven and the bowels of Hell. Widower by The Creeping ManThe Creeping Man enters the fray of dark ambient and drone artists who are attempting to escape the confines of the genre. His attempt comes in the form of drone pieces utilizing public domain filmstrips to add atmosphere to his music. The old school influences are even present within their cover art, as they use a photo taken by Angelo Rizzuto in 1959 of an "Unidentified man looking at mannequins through shop window". His latest album, "Widower" is a collection of these pieces. And though The Creeping Man does their best to avoid standardized genre tactics, the frequent use of samples from old films can only take the album so far. The first song on the album 'Swell People' commits entirely to The Creeping Man's mantra; distorted song from an old clip plays above a windy atmosphere that slowly builds up. The cheerful, though horrific, sounding song comes to an end and we're left to The Creeping Man's devices. I was initially intrigued by what sounds like waves crashing against a barrier as a texture effect, but when that faded out around the fifty-second mark I was left with pretty standard work for dark ambient and drone music. I heard elongated synths with very little texture in between. The song ends off with another sample and then I was dropped into the next track.For a majority of the album, then, does The Creeping Man follow this tactic. A sample begins the song, drone work is thrown in with a few layers, a couple of other samples are thrown in either the foreground or background, and then the song ends. While the samples are interesting enough on their own, The Creeping Man's lack of innovation in accordance with synthesizers makes a majority of the "Widower" sound bland. The six-minute track 'Jane Devours The Magic Clown' is perhaps the twilight of this structure. The song is moody, but it does not provoke much emotion or thought from me and I found myself drowning out the song on repeated listens even if I was just driving down the road. What I do find to be the best track on the album is 'You Become a Call Girl'. The sample in the beginning is way too long as it lasts for thirty-two seconds in a song that is only two-minutes and eighteen-seconds long. However, what comes after that is a minimal-industrial song fueled by hardware synthesizers. A powerful kick-drum like sound, another bit that sounds like a jackhammer, a trickle of electronic keys, and an underlying synth line gave this song a unique sound. This also stood out to me as it was odd; it didn't fit on this dark ambient and drone album, yet there it was. Well done. '(All Girls Are) Different ((Female Reproductive Mechanism Mix))' also follow in these footsteps, utilizing minimal-industrial mechanics over a drone to achieve a spotlight on the album. What The Creeping Man has in his arsenal is a wide variety of mood setting samples, the gear to make it happen, and the production values to ensure a decent product. Throughout the entirety of "Widower", there was never a time where I found a single sound to be awful. What The Creeping Man does lack, however, are those textures that I so crave when I listen to dark ambient and drone music. If he could utilize his passion for old filmstrips and transfer that so his music matches the eerie aura those clips give off, then The Creeping Man would be doing much, much better. Even his industrial-bits with 'You Become a Call Girl' and '(All Girls Are) Different ((Female Reproductive Mechanism Mix))' provide a much needed relief on the album. However, as of right now, the bland drone work usually leaves me with a stale palette of sounds that are much too similar to what is always found within the genre. Five out of ten. This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page. 350
Brutal Resonance

The Creeping Man - Widower

5.0
"Mediocre"
Released off label 2021
Whenever I sit down and listen to a dark ambient or drone album, I do expect to hear some trademarks of the genre; lengthy synth lines of a moody or depressive atmosphere will be abundant. It wouldn't be dark ambient or drone music if that weren't the case. However, in order to stand out from the crowd, an artist needs much more than just synth lines layered on top of one another. What's important in dark ambient and drone releases is what's in between those layers; textures and samples that further inhabit my brain with thoughts of a different environment, place, or world. To give examples of such works that do the trick, I look to the likes of Tineidae's 2020 album "Exo", which brought me to an abandoned mothership; Worms of the Earth's 2015 album "Sitra Achra", which gave out beautiful but dark rituals, and Paranoia Inducta's 2014 album "Maze of Death" which brought me through the gates of Heaven and the bowels of Hell. 



The Creeping Man enters the fray of dark ambient and drone artists who are attempting to escape the confines of the genre. His attempt comes in the form of drone pieces utilizing public domain filmstrips to add atmosphere to his music. The old school influences are even present within their cover art, as they use a photo taken by Angelo Rizzuto in 1959 of an "Unidentified man looking at mannequins through shop window". His latest album, "Widower" is a collection of these pieces. And though The Creeping Man does their best to avoid standardized genre tactics, the frequent use of samples from old films can only take the album so far. 

The first song on the album 'Swell People' commits entirely to The Creeping Man's mantra; distorted song from an old clip plays above a windy atmosphere that slowly builds up. The cheerful, though horrific, sounding song comes to an end and we're left to The Creeping Man's devices. I was initially intrigued by what sounds like waves crashing against a barrier as a texture effect, but when that faded out around the fifty-second mark I was left with pretty standard work for dark ambient and drone music. I heard elongated synths with very little texture in between. The song ends off with another sample and then I was dropped into the next track.

For a majority of the album, then, does The Creeping Man follow this tactic. A sample begins the song, drone work is thrown in with a few layers, a couple of other samples are thrown in either the foreground or background, and then the song ends. While the samples are interesting enough on their own, The Creeping Man's lack of innovation in accordance with synthesizers makes a majority of the "Widower" sound bland. The six-minute track 'Jane Devours The Magic Clown' is perhaps the twilight of this structure. The song is moody, but it does not provoke much emotion or thought from me and I found myself drowning out the song on repeated listens even if I was just driving down the road. 

What I do find to be the best track on the album is 'You Become a Call Girl'. The sample in the beginning is way too long as it lasts for thirty-two seconds in a song that is only two-minutes and eighteen-seconds long. However, what comes after that is a minimal-industrial song fueled by hardware synthesizers. A powerful kick-drum like sound, another bit that sounds like a jackhammer, a trickle of electronic keys, and an underlying synth line gave this song a unique sound. This also stood out to me as it was odd; it didn't fit on this dark ambient and drone album, yet there it was. Well done. '(All Girls Are) Different ((Female Reproductive Mechanism Mix))' also follow in these footsteps, utilizing minimal-industrial mechanics over a drone to achieve a spotlight on the album. 

What The Creeping Man has in his arsenal is a wide variety of mood setting samples, the gear to make it happen, and the production values to ensure a decent product. Throughout the entirety of "Widower", there was never a time where I found a single sound to be awful. What The Creeping Man does lack, however, are those textures that I so crave when I listen to dark ambient and drone music. If he could utilize his passion for old filmstrips and transfer that so his music matches the eerie aura those clips give off, then The Creeping Man would be doing much, much better. Even his industrial-bits with 'You Become a Call Girl' and '(All Girls Are) Different ((Female Reproductive Mechanism Mix))' provide a much needed relief on the album. However, as of right now, the bland drone work usually leaves me with a stale palette of sounds that are much too similar to what is always found within the genre. Five out of ten. 

This review was commissioned through our Ko-fi page.
May 16 2021

Off label

Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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