It’s always difficult for a small-time band to stand out from a crowd, especially in a genre as diverse as heavy metal. Do you fall back on well-worn clichés and tough-guy posturing to appeal to the lowest common denominator? Or do you abandon formula and throw every musical idea you’ve ever had into the mix, risking being seen as a gimmick in the process? Sometimes, the answer to a question such as this isn’t quite so black and white.
Me With Creeps is a heavy metal band based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. Formed in 2010, they are currently unsigned and yet are making waves, being played regularly on Seton Hall’s college radio station WSOU due to popular demand from fans. How are they doing this? Are they the second coming of Metallica, seemingly destined for widespread, crossover appeal? Are they mired in controversy like the early 90s Norwegian black metal scene?
Enough with the rhetorical questions. Me With Creeps is succeeding because they play fun, no-frills, adrenaline pumping metal, simple as that. Though their sound has been done before, the band’s energy and enthusiasm sets them apart from the pack.
Musically, the group is most immediately reminiscent of melodic death metal groups, specifically the “Gothenburg metal” sound as popularized by groups like In Flames or Dark Tranquility. This is a common musical trope among many bands today, specifically those in the metalcore genre. And yet there is a definite sense of fun to Me With Creeps’ music that is lacking in their often very dour counterparts. Much of this atmosphere is due to the lyrics, which for the most part are fairly standard death metal fair, albeit less explicit than the norm. Lines like “cut me open, I exist” or “I see your body start to shake” from “Try You On” aren’t exactly poetic ruminations on the state of the world, but they don’t need to be – they fit the tempo of the music and serve to get your head banging, which oftentimes is far more preferable than getting bogged down in angst-filled tales of lost love.
In terms of musical ability, Me With Creeps is far more accomplished and polished than you might think at first. Vocalist Dom Ostuni primarily uses a Mikael Stanne type of roar, undeniably harsh yet quite decipherable, while also veering into clean singing on songs such as “Super Six.” His clean vocals are emotive without being whiny, and both his clean and harsh styles blend with the music quite well. The guitar work of George Adamz is also rather accomplished, providing melodic guitar solos and driving riffs. Greg Behan’s keys mostly lurk in the background providing atmosphere, though some songs such as “Counting Sheep” have foreground passages where they give the track a sort of melancholy edge. The rhythm section of bassist Alfred Chester and drummer Pat Cancian is simple yet appropriate, with Cancian adding some personal flourish to the usual array of blast beats and double-bass. Chester’s bass, sadly, is often drowned out by the guitar, probably due to the production, but nevertheless provides a solid bottom-end.
Though Me With Creeps does not have a full-length album out at the moment, all of the band’s music can be found at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MeWithCreeps or their ReverbNation page: http://www.reverbnation.com/mewithcreeps. Those in the Northern New Jersey area, or hell, even those outside of New Jersey who have an appreciation for metal are urged to check these guys out, as Me With Creeps is a local band certainly worth getting behind.