Craft - Void
Sweden has had (and still has) more than it's fair share of metal pioneers, trailblazers and general masters of the craft. The band Craft, however, I cannot lump into that catagory. While their press wants me to believe they're the next big thing, it's hard to hear why on Void, their upcoming offering on Southern Lord. My negatively comes more from the fact that black metal this is not; there is a subgenre, oft-forgotten, known as "black rock" and this has far more in common with others of that ilk. It's never been to my taste, and while Craft are certainly a capable and talented group, the songs on Void, in fact, leave a bit of one in me where I'm left wanting more.
I think the word I am looking for to describe the majority of this album is generic. Nondescript, quite literally (last pun) void of any originality or anything that makes me personally think it stands out. It just seems to go about it's business, however steadily and without compromise. This may be exactly what you're looking for, or exactly not. Certain moments do a little more for me than others; the depressive, emotional outro to the title track, for instance, has a certain vibe about it that sounds like the chorus to the world's destruction. Sadly, this is the last part of the entire album, and everything before it just cannot compare. I cannot find much fault in the technical aspects of the record; the production is appropriately low-fi for this sort of metal, and the band is competant and does manage to squeeze some decent riffs out here and there. The vocals are typical, monotonous BM fare. What lacks the most for me is a higher tempo. The band seems to threaten to crank things into overdrive, and at times they nearly do...but the percussion remains in a mid-tempo area that totally betrays the promise of something more. Like I mentioned before, this may totally appeal to you, and it does create more of a distinctive atmosphere of down-trodden, almost doom-ish black metal, but there's little of substance regardless.
Void is a solid, low-fi black rock record that some may say is black metal and blah blah, definitions be damned. This isn't my idea of black metal. It doesn't stand out in anyway, doesn't have a definable sound that makes Craft an entity all their own. Instead, it rehashes some of the finer ideas of black metal's past, and idly attempts to recapture the spirit of the originators of the style. It does it at times, but on the whole, Void fails where there was potential to succeed.
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