The sophomore full-length effort from the English collective Sex, Death, & the Infinite Void leans hard into Creeper's affinity for lofty horror-tinged glam rock with the sturm and drang of a Jim Steinman production. Where 2017's Eternity, In Your Arms flirted with Meat Loaf-esque rock & roll pageantry. Sex, Death, & the Infinite Void goes all in, delivering an elaborate yet tightly knit 40-minute set that's spilling over with thespian despair and emo-tinged apocalyptic fervor. It's also a sh*t-ton of fun -- a master class in smudged-eyeliner camp directed by a clutch of vampires masquerading as musical theater majors. The band's darkened pop-punk is as expansive as it is rooted in the genre's snappy-verse/huge-chorus sonic architecture, with sugary barre chord brooders like "Annabelle" and "Be My End" giving way to Lynch-ian sock-hop jams ("Thorns of Love") and Roy Orbison-spun country-pop ("Poisoned Heart"). Frontman Will Gould continues to be a compelling ringleader, peppering his fatalistic anthems with delectable pop culture references, such as describing the protagonist of the crafty, hook-laden "Cyanide" as "Christina Applegate hopelessly beautiful in 1988," while providing melodramatic spoken-word between-song interludes alongside ex-Sister of Mercy Patricia Morrison like some sort of goth-punk Rod Serling. Potentially cringeworthy in lesser hands, Creeper ultimately sell the hell out of the album. Like its predecessor, Sex, Death, & the Infinite Void treats naval-gazing like a spectator sport, with each death-obsessed narrative resolving into a gang-vocal crescendo ("God can't save us, so let's live like sinners") of stale cigarette smoke and beer-can-crushing outsider solidarity.
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