Here it is five days into October and I haven’t covered a black metal album yet. I ought to be ashamed. Allow me to belatedly kick off my favorite season in good proper satan-worshiping style.
Craft’s new album kicks ass. I might go on long analytic rants right and left about modern black metal hybrid bands standing at the forefront of innovative new metal today, but when it comes time to dig out the really sinister shit, tradition still carries the flag. Craft have spent the last ten years proving that corpse paint and spiked bracers still have a legitimate roll in black metal.
Void starts out by punching you in the nuts, then Mikael Nox gets about an inch from your face and compliments your tears with spittle while John Doe plants his foot on your chest and breaks out the tremolo. By the two minute mark they’ve finished chalking a pentagram around you and the ritual begins. If this transition strikes you initially as a disappointment, leaving the opening brutality behind too soon, just give it some time. As the three minute mark approaches, the tremolo guitar invokes a brief vision of awe and terror, soon to be lost in a chaotic haze. If you haven’t moved by now, you’ll probably find your intestines dangling from the ceiling beams.
The only real disappointment in the entire song is the fact that it ends.
The Ground Surrenders
It’s not that Serpent Soul, or any other track on the album for that matter, is aesthetically above standard. As song writers they follow the black metal status quo, and if you don’t like this genre of music they’re not the sort of band you’re likely to make an exception for. Rather, what makes Void as a whole so great is all in the details of delivery. The vocals, guitars, and drums all merge perfectly to create a single solid sound in which nothing seems out of place. It’s all so tight that every dynamic shift delivers; the impact never falls short of their intentions.
Succumb to Sin
Granted plenty of black metal bands have preferred moderate tempos, it’s one of Craft’s great consistencies on Void to always take maximum advantage of the sort of heaviness a slow and steady plod can offer. It’s almost as if the tension of each track is measured, with the opening brutality as the measuring stick. Any time it cuts back you’re practically guaranteed a return. Whatever’s built up is always properly released, whether it be in the form of the explosion at the end of The Ground Surrenders or through the more subtle bursts employed on Succumb to Sin. Add a quick guitar solo at the end to let out the leftovers, and here you’ve got an exceptionally well-formed song.
I’ve talked this album up quite a lot, but let me be clear as to why. It’s not great in any of the ways I usually get fired up about; it’s pretty plain and simple black metal. Like Total Soul Rape and Terror Propaganda (I never actually knew Fuck the Universe existed until I started writing this), it will probably be a fall staple for me when I’m itching for good black metal with no trappings, but the only thing I’m really going to remember is that I liked it. I’ll forget the intricacies of the songs that I’ve picked up on while writing this pretty quickly. But what really struck me when I paid attention to it (and what might subconsciously continue to draw me to their first two albums) is not ingenuity but the quality of their musicianship. This album shines because every member of the band does the right things at the right times every time, feeding off of each other’s performance to create a really tight, unified sound. It’s just really well crafted music, no pun intended.