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I'm sorry, I really wanted to like this album... I've attempted to digest it, give it time and grow on me, but in the end it hardly impressed me at all. While listening, only a select few moments ever jump out of the monotonous filthy sludge I would call 'Fuck the Universe'. On my first listen, it did seem Craft were on a similarly righteous path as 'Terror Propaganda', that is until about a minute into the first song, "Earth a Raging Blaze", when things began to slow down. While this wasn't entirely unheard of or unwelcomed, as those of you who have heard Terror Propaganda might know, it indeed caught me by surprise. It was certainly much too early in the record to cut the legs from under it and kill the momentum that was just getting established; all in all a bad move. What's worse is that the song never really recovers from this atonal, snail paced droning. In fact, it carries on into the next song in a very poor way at the onset. Luckily it gets a bit more melodic despite maintaining the slow tempo, eventually even speeding up a bit in the middle, glory be. From there on, it varies from some of the more decent slower passages (of a melodic variety) to the painful droning ones that end the song on a low point. In my estimation, this could have worked so much better had less emphasis on this droning atmosphere been paid and a little more of the terror-evoking vocals been worked in. If you're not familiar with Craft, all I can say is the frontman has some of the most sickeningly vile vocal styles in all of black metal, and work wonders for the music when given proper attention.
With the exception of the next song, the title track, which mostly showcases quicker tempos, the album spends the variety of its time exploring way too much of this drawn out, "drone" aspect with less and less focus on crushing power chords, blast beats atop frenetic tremolo picking, and a lack of variety, or confidence, in the vocals (and use of them during key moments for added intensity). Everything else that made Terror Propaganda a beast of an album seems like it was abandoned in favor of something more experimental or "artistic", and the album winds up a little pretentious for it. And yet, I don't think this is enough to describe why this album sucks in comparison to TP. No doubt, anyone not having heard TP might find this record very appealing... the reality is if you HAVE heard it, you know this is Craft with all the wind taken out of their sails. What remains is a real lack of powerful or even head-bangable song-writing; no doubt even some of the faster tempos lack the same oomph as on Terror Propaganda.
Undoubtedly Craft will not fail entirely on all fronts, as songs like Destroy All, Xenophobia, The Suffering of Others or According to Him still capture a bit of that speed & intensity that is still dirty and vile-sounding enough to get most black metal fans nodding their heads. As such, these tracks, along with the title track, earn the positive points on this album alone, reminding fans and band alike that perhaps distillation is in order to create a record that slams from start to finish (remember quality over quantity, folks).
Unfortunately for me, tracks like Demonspeed, Assassin 333, Terni Ezusta and Principium Anguis, among others, fail from the "hit & miss" formula that mucks the glory of most of this album. Having started off well enough or making good on building tempos towards a crescendo only to be ruined by lack-luster and nonsense tempo changes, or skulking, atonal dirges that seem to ware on for minutes and grate the nerves is what most of the album consists of. I can't help but give Craft a negative score for this because Terror Propaganda includes a lot of the same elements, and yet seemed possessed by a wholly different purpose; to write songs that rip the face off, as opposed to Fuck the Universe which seems content at just exploring new and "progressive" tendencies of expansive, sludge-filled droning which drags the album through the most criminally boring depths of Craft's career. Again, a stripped down version of this album easily could have followed up TP nicely, but even then it seems songs like Xenophobia, Destroy All, The Suffering of Others, and the rest of the good tracks are just a little substandard when held against Ablaze, False Orders Begone, NDP or The Silence Thereafter.
My expectations for a Terror Propaganda 2.0 obviously colors my attitude against the album a bit, I'll admit that. On the other hand, I believe some of the longer, dragged out passages, which wouldn't be entirely out of place on a post-rock album, would have benefit from a grittier, dark edge; even those not-of-this-world shrieks from Nox would have helped polish these passages up and round the album out. At the very least, I have to argue in favor of the album... it is certainly worth a download to grab highlight tracks for compilation discs, playlists, etc. and to help tide Craft fans over until their next release (which one can only hope is more in vein of their Magnum Opus: Terror Propaganda).
Damn, this is some evil shit here. From the very first, to the very last, riff it's nothing but a pure joy of blasphemic chants. Chilling riffs, pounding drums, vicious vocals and hateful lyrics. The title should tell you the latter one.
Every note is filled with such despise it's unbelievable, you can actually see the hatred crawl out of your speakers, and feel them infecting your mind. Bloody marvellous old school black metal, where it feels like this is the album all others are inspired by, but failing to live up to. It's just that great! The artwork, lyrics, music, vocals - It all works together in perfect chaotic harmony (harmony feels like the wrong word to use here, but you know what I mean). If you want your music chilling, raw, vicious and evil then this is for you. As far as old school goes it doesn't get any better than this. Pure and simple: a masterpiece!
Craft is the razor in your wrists, the noose around your neck, the shotgun in your throat, a plague to be unleashed on mankind, a fucking A-bomb of pure hate. I'll leave you with this
- Hate... the clouds, the rain, the air that lets life-forms breathe. ... The land, the sea, the places where the humans breed. ... The skyline, the zenith, where the sun rises, travels and sets. ... The homes, the lands, the places of shelter for man. Back to your past, human. //Craft - Xenophobia.
Originally written for www.mylastchapter.net
when I first heard the title of the new CRAFT album, I was kind of bummed out. Then I saw the artwork and I was really bummed out. It all seemed kind of silly to me. "Fuck the Universe" sounded like the title of a NINE INCH NAILS song or something. Fortunately my concerns were pretty much erased by the sounds of the opening chords.
I was immediately struck by the sound of the record. The album has a very 'dead' 70's rock production quality to it. Everything (especially the drums) sounds like it was recorded in a room carpeted from wall to wall, ceiling to floor. Anyone that has ever been in bands and made records can tell you that recording music this way can be very challenging. Every nuance of every instrument can be heard, especially the mistakes. There just really aren't any mistakes on this album to be heard. Many black metal bands cloak their musical ineptitude with reverb and tons of guitar overdubs. Not CRAFT, they bare all for us to hear and the result is simply the sound of a really good band playing in a room together. Funnily enough, the production on this record actually reminds me of the first DANZIG album Yeah he got punched out on video, but that record totally slays.
Musically the only way I can think to describe this record is that it "rocks." The songs are mostly mid-tempo and there's only a few times where the band breaks into full on blast-beat blackness. The result is something that is far too rare in black metal these days, some actual VARIATION!!! Many of the songs are fairly complex with interesting progressions, multiple parts, tempo variations and even some hints of melody. Nox's vocals haven't changed much but that's ok with me, he has an impressive gravely snarl. Don't get me wrong, I love the raw elements of black metal. I can tolerate sub-par musicianship or one man bands with boring drum machine parts as long as the atmosphere is there. To me, atmosphere is the essence of black metal but I like it even more when a band can capture that atmosphere while simultaneously bringing the rock.
CRAFT has always been a great band, but I think they're really onto something unique here. UNIQUE. You don't see that word in black metal reviews very often these days eh? Along with DEATHSPELL OMEGA, CRAFT are pushing black metal to new levels and I really hope they keep pushing.
I am the destroyer...
This is the first Craft release for a while. Terror Propaganda looked like they were on their way to acheiving something. Fuck the Universe is not a continuation of the path they (seemingly) accidently stumbled upon.
Moronic title and 'philosophy' aside, this album is pure garbage. A listener with half a mind may think "Wait a minute, this isn't the new Craft CD, it is Carpathian Forest paying tribute to A Blaze in the Northern Sky-era Darkthrone!" I had the same thought myself, but it is not the case, this really is Craft.
The music is 'fun', that is about the only positive element somebody may find in it (I hate 'fun' music, myself). It has no artistic integrity, it captures no feeling (other than the feeling that you think you've bought a Carpathian Forest CD).
If anybody had any doubts, the release of this CD proves Black Metal is 99% dead, the essence was clearly wasted on bands like Craft.
The album is about average length for an album and contains eleven tracks. By the time track eleven had started I was pretty sure I had been sat there for about an hour and a half and had been exposed to at least fifteen tracks.
Best use for this CD would be a frisbee to give to a homeless child at Christmas or use by the military to test endurance.
Craft! Now that's a band that deserves an exclamation point. These guys rock, and they rock hard. Perhaps "rock" isn't that right description for the sound of a Swedish black metal band, but Craft seems to bring a sense of rhythm and attitude that most of their noisier fellows seem to lack. From the first listen, one can tell that this band is heavily influenced by Darkthrone. Alot of the riffs sound very familiar, but they take on their own glamour. The difference is that Craft has a thick, full, and surprisingly well-produced sound. Fuck the Universe may not be as "cold" or "necro" as other black metal albums out there, but here we find great attitude, violence, and sheer aggression.
Everything on this album is flawless to me, it appears to be very well rehearsed. Although, this band is probably good enough to have gone right into the studio and recorded without first running through the songs on their own. The production is top notch. This isn't a 4-track home studio recording, this is big. Very rich, and very clear. Don't you love it when a black metal band forks over the money and loses the grimness to sound clear and crushing?
Now, on to the quality of the instruments. The guitars on Fuck the Universe are quite varied. The guitars that appear in most songs remind me of Darkthrone's "In the Shadow of the Horns". The difference is that they are more up-tempo. There are plenty of break downs, moments of slow crushing riffs, and fast-paced attacks. Even a few guitar solos show up, but we aren't talking Yngwie Malmsteen. Harsh and bizzarre. The vocals are probably my favorite part of the album. This guy sounds like a mix between Abbath, Nocturno Culto, and Nattefrost. Grim, raspy, and downright hateful. It's especially enjoyable when he draws out the rasping to get an evil effect. Drums are quite varied, there's alot of nice beats in here. It's nothing remarkable, but it fits the music very well. I haven't caught a fuck up yet. This isn't Abbath on "Battles in the North". This guy knows what he's doing. I can't hear bass very well, but I can't deny it's presence. It adds to the thickness of the recording, which is definitely a plus.
Fuck the Universe is a black metal gem. If only other modern BM acts would cut the synths, the gayness, and the overall bullshit maybe there will be a future for the genre. Follow the example of Craft. Misantrophy, hate, and great sound!