Album: White Noise and Black Metal
Label: Season of Mist
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date: 22 June, 2018
Craft is a band that has been around for a very long time (since 1994) but only had sporadic output. To be perfectly honest, this is my first listen to them, and I have to say, they’re really good in that old school Black Metal kind of way. Founder and guitarist Joakim has been with the band since the beginning, and truly, he is Craft, along with second guitarist John Doe and vocalist Nox, who have both been with the band for over 18 years now. These guys exude that calm, professional, you’re in good hands confidence. I call it swagger, and they have it, in spades. So let’s get down to it, shall we?
Opener “The Cosmic Sphere Falls” sets the tone and pace for the entire collection. There’s dramatic, dark guitar work, tumbling bass, and a nice, brutal, brittle chug that churns the whole machine forward. This sounds at once elegantly evil and as crusty as a rusted battleship. Nox delivers on the vocals, his sound somewhere close to Abbath, just not as croaking, less Kermit more Death. This song blasts you in the face and settles into a very nice groove, and groove is a key word for what this band does. You’re not going to find Marduk shred your face speed on this record, although there is plenty of speed. What you’re mostly going to find is pacing, and power, a band that prefers to wallop you rather than sting you with a thousand needles. The whole thing exudes class but it never loses the grit of the street.
Second song “Again” is probably my favorite, as it is riff-tastic and crushing. If you don’t bang your head to this one, you might as well check in your Metalhead card. Ripping and devastating and there’s that word “swagger” again. This is the sound of the local tough guy walking into the pub and people getting out of his way because they know, man, they know.
Some other noteworthy tracks:
“Tragedy of Pointless Games” is all mid-paced, chesty, grinding stuff. This one almost plods, almost, keeping just enough speed to keep it from being a slog. It’s decorated with some nice, melodic fills that act as dressing on its fringes, giving it more nuance and power it would have had otherwise. Don’t worry, though, because this one howls, and it moans, and it definitely delivers on the heavy. It’s situated just about in the middle of the record, so it offers a nice balancing point to the chaos all around it.
“Darkness Falls” follows and it’s a chugging rocker. Faster but not blazing, it finds that groove and fills it up, bottom to the top, with plenty of guitar, nice bass, and some crashing drums. Another headbanger, blackened and crusted with evil, but not so much it makes you want to drown a cat.
Closer “White Noise” isn’t that, it’s more rough guitar riffing and plenty of swirling Black. Nox takes his vocals to a nastier level on this one, bearing down and almost snarling out the lyrics. This song is a perfect finish for the album, displaying all that makes Craft such a good band. Again, this is smooth and effortless sounding, and yet completely gritty and rough around the edges.
Craft have composed a really good record. There’s plenty of riffs, plenty of evil, plenty of Black Metal to keep anyone entertained. It’s a solid, terrific effort. The only drawback is that it does nothing really new. These guys do what they do well, and they should be commended, but if you’re looking for some kind of twist, or some new approach, you won’t find it here. This is pretty much straight up groovy Black Metal and that’s it. There’s no shame in this. It’s comfort food for a certain kind of fan. That said, I don’t know if I’ll even remember it in a year, so that’s why it gets a 7 rather than an 8 from me.
Classy, epic, heavy stuff, just not enough to stand above others.
1. The Cosmic Sphere Falls
4. Tragedy of Pointless Games
5. Darkness Falls
8. White Noise
Total Playing Time: 42:18