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While certainly not offering up anything original in the new school of BM, it's clear to see that Craft don't give a fuck. The band's second album, Terror Propaganda, resonates with plenty of Celtic Frost and Darkthrone influences in all facets: the simple artwork, the attitude, and of course the music.
However, we're not dismissing Craft as a clone or a shit band. Oh, no. Even though these Swedes stick to a beaten-and-true path of black metal, certain things lurk in the mix that set Craft apart in a certain way. Riffs shift between icy tremolo picking, mean-as-fuck power chord bashings, massive sludgefests, and a slice of dissonant, atonal sequences that are often played alone that create a cavernous sense of terror; the latter seem to be highly influenced by a dark ambient style, or maybe even the wave of French BM bands in the mid-90's. Either way, the guitar work is filthy as hell and represents the true spirit of black metal at work. Craft's songwriting skills never stagnate, and even the slower Celtic Frost-esque riffs are kept interesting with splices of pinch harmonics. The band's relentless songwriting techniques are in full form on the opener, "Ablaze", which quickly shifts from mid-paced blast beats to low-down and dirty sludge, as well as the instrumental "616." Some nice harmonies are thrown into the mix in a subtle manner, adding a somewhat off-color sense of melody to the grimness. "The Silence Thereafter", one of the more down-tempo tracks, switches between eerie minor-chord plucking and forceful power chords, and some songs even have chaotic solos soaked in reverb to push things forward. Despite the no-frills nature of the whole album, an atmospheric touch is added with the ambient ending of "Ablaze", which leads into the second track.
Daniel's drum work is nothing special, but this only helps to accelerate the album's nature and motives. I would have liked to see a little more "balls" behind the playing, as it would really help add even more punch to the music. However, the double bass is used wisely, and Daniel allows the music to breathe through at the proper moments. Patterns mostly consist of mid-paced blasts, D-beats, and slower beats to accentuate the more powerful riffs. The drum sound is modern and fresh, and the production as a whole is quite surprising. When looking at the cover art alone, one would expect a shitty lo-fi production, but Craft utilize a cold yet ear-friendly sound that help give the grinding moments an extra push. Bass is clearly overdriven and out-front at times, reminding me somewhat of older Carpathian Forest.
The vocals here are something special; at times they are "typical" black metal, albeit a bit lower and with more dirt. On the title track and "Hidden Under the Skin," (which has some fucking great riffs) you'll hear some fucking INHUMAN screams in the background, comparable even to that of Varg of Herr Morbid of Forgotten Tomb. The lyrics are pretty cool too, even if we've seen in too many times. "Reaktor 4" is misanthropic, and focuses on human extinction. I love the last line of that song: "...Smells like humans."
One thing that really surprised me about the album was its consistency; despite the one-way nature of the music and generally unchanging tempos, (both fast and slow parts) Craft's fresh songwriting skills and fierce vocals keep things interesting. They are one of the few bands to succeed in taking the true spirit of BM and making an album full of it the RIGHT way.
Craft will rip your fucking face off. Not with blaspehemy or speed, but with true black metal spirit. Highly recommended to fans of old-school black metal looking for new stuff.
Favorite songs: "Ablaze", "Hidden Under the Skin", "N.D.P.", "Terror Propaganda."
Well, it's obvious Craft listened to darkthrone a lot, as they feature the cover that's been on about 50% of all kvlt classics. However, one surprise is, Craft does it better than darkthrone. It's better produced, but without losing the atmosphere. The vokills are the grimmest I've ever heard, and the guitars are so doomy and grim, that this unholy marriage of doom metal and black metal makes sense, and is much more unholy than anything most of the straight bm bands could offer.
The songs are alike, but they aren't repetitive; i.e. they have similar structure and the riffs are cohesive and linear, but it's not 38 minutes of the some three riffs and their variations. The songs themselves contain many riffs, and in some ways the riffs aren't black but doom metal. In any case, this blows darkthrone out of the water, simply because it's grimmer, darker, faster, and heavier. Not that the whole album is fast; far from it. There are lots of slow parts, which is nice, because it adds variety. But the drummer practices, and it's obvious.
Now, this stuff isn't for pretenders. As bands such as Darkthrone are going stale, this is really a new, more uncompromising, slab of BM for the 21st century. It should be obvious this isn't for symphonique metal freaks, and it's not for speed freaks either. This is pure hate, boiled down to it's most distilled form. No impurities, no moments of not hating. This is pure satanic terror fucking propaganda.
Craft sound confused. While they obviously worship at the altar of Darkthrone (hold TP next to Transylvanian Hunger and you’ll see what I mean), they thrown in enough death/doom elements and cheesy guitar bits to perplex even the most open-minded of BM fans. One minute it’s full-speed-ahead old-school drone, the next it’s broken down gutter rawk. Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with the balls-out treatment: but when said balls are withered and tiny, the attempt to be all things to all people ultimately fails to satisfy anyone at all.
Their first mistake was opening the album with “Ablaze”, actually the best song on the album and one which every subsequent song fails to surpass in both quality and focus. This is the only one out of Terror Propaganda’s eight songs where there is enough cohesion and drive between vocals, drums and guitars to achieve anything worthwhile. Too bad they blew their load so early: the rest of the album is one long, bumpy ride downhill.
On “The Silence Thereafter”, the band slows down for a bit of mid-tempo sludge. Nothing too awful here, other then the fact that the song is perpetually on the verge of going somewhere without ever actually arriving. This is also where the deathy/Sabbath riffs start to surface and dumb everything down between bursts of otherwise decent BM. “Reaktor 4” is just hopeless, beginning in slightly Burzumesque fashion before being corrupted by a lame pastiche of styles and equally lame lyrics: “you radiation of immense power/the wind will pass it” (what?). With “Hidden Under the Skin”, Craft take another stab at clean-cut BM, with acceptable results in spite of an ending that borrows heavily from Gorgoroth’s “Odeleggelse og Undergang”.
The four remaining songs continue in much the same hit-and-miss way. “False Orders Begone” has potential which is ultimately spoiled by the stupidly raunchy beginning; “NDP” is probably the second best song of the album, by virtue of the fact that it commits no grievous errors and has a decent amount of drive; “616” is a patchy bit of instrumental that fails to deliver; and the final title track is an ok-ish sendoff marred by a chest-thumping intro.
All in all, I was left with the impression that what Craft probably need to do is just reflect a little bit more on where they want to go and what they want to achieve. This album has many moments of promise despite its flaws, and if the band could use their influences as stepping-stones to something greater rather than as bolsters to mere mediocrity, they might develop their sound into something both unique and challenging. The current BM scene is full of great bands doing just that: with a little more effort, Craft could probably join their ranks.
Scary as hell. Painfully slow and absolutely torturous is this album from Craft. Fantastic vocals mixed with doomy riffs and some excellent drum patterns make this a brilliant release. Never before have I heard such a mix of black and doom metal. It's addictive too. I'm listening to it again and again. Extremely headbangable material.
Every single track off this monster is a brilliant song. Even though this album has released only last year, and it does sound quite "modern" as such, it still manages to retain an old sound to it. As shocking as this may sound, Craft does have quite a bit of doom influence. The slow riffs, the torturous vocals and the matching drum beats really suggest that these guys are trying to mix the two together. And from the looks of it, they are succeeding!
Warning: if you think black metal should be symphonic, technical, overproduced or full of pointless noodling, stop reading this review and move on to the Dimmu Borgir page. If that statement does not apply to you in the slightest, you're ready to be indoctrinated into the gloomy, misanthropic world of Craft.
Obviously the band felt the need to make a strong impact since their Total Soul Rape debut was such a vile, sickening slab of pure black horror. "Terror Propaganda, in contrast, is a more toned down, melodic beast, while retaining the ravenous intensity of it's predecessor. "Ablaze" opens up with a flurry of searing Bathory-worship with the traditional cantering quick-paced percussion and rasping vocals. The riff here is as original as a two-dollar Rolex, but it works a treat. Craft aren't fucking around with attempts at reinventing the wheel, they're here to cause you pain.
Speaking of which, "The Silence Thereafter" is up next, but instead of hitting you over the head at maximum speed, they crush you with a bludgeoning crawler of a song. The gloom simply oozes from the guitars here, complimented by tormented vocal howling. "Reaktor 4" and "Hidden Under The Skin" speed things up again, delivering even more orthodox black metal violence, with blatant Hellhammer and early Sodom influences glinting through the murky sound-surface.
"False Orders Begone" and "NDP (Nearly Dead Parasites)" are where this CD peaks, slamming the full force of Craft's creative abilities into the inferno. And by creative, I mean the ability to arrange songs which feel like they move all over the place while staying completely grounded in a rock-solid base of well-worn ideas, thus creating the musical equivalent of perpetual motion slowed down to a crawl. "616" and the title track round out this short 38 minutes of madness, and while they're somewhat overshadowed by the songs they follow, there's no slouching here. The entire disc is a complete entity, with nary a trace of filler to be found anywhere. It's also as catchy as a fishhook down the front of one's trousers. And, that said, i'll leave you with a nice sample of poetry from "NDP" - "Do you feel the foul stench in the air? Like corpses left to rot in the sun.Nearly dead parasites trying desperately to survive...
...it smells like humans."