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I’ll be completely honest. The first time I listened to “Void”, I wasn’t very impressed. I thought it was a solid album from a band that I enjoyed in the past, but nothing extraordinarily great. However, I revisited this album a few weeks ago. I was just randomly in the mood for something I hadn’t heard in a while, plus it was winter, so I halfheartedly looked through my black metal collection and saw Craft. I played this album, and it’s almost as if I had heard something completely different.
I have enjoyed Craft’s work for a few years. I still listen to “Terror propaganda” every now and then. I’ve just always enjoyed their style of black metal, albeit rudimentary and similar to legions of other black metal bands. There’s just something about “Void” that makes it unique and ultimately superior to many, many other black metal releases out there. Despite being apparently average on first listen, it’s the archetypal “grower,” gaining momentum with every spin.
If you listen to this album without any kind of concentration whatsoever, you’ll hear black metal, standard, raw, raspy, moderately well-produced, dark black metal. But once you focus on the music just a little bit, you’ll become so engulfed in the maelstrom that you’ll swear it’s a different album. This is a black metal release that actually brings some freshness to the table, whether its the killer guitar solos peppered throughout the album or even the strange-but-natural time manipulations that leave you feeling uneasy yet satisfied.
For me, the vocals are the element from this album that get me. Nox is one of my favorite black metal vocalists, and always has been. His slightly deeper croak is unmatched for this style and always sound creepy as hell. Just listen to him chant the mantric chorus of “I want to commit murder.” His sound alone makes you think he really does. And has. Several times.
The guitars are some of the best black metal has to offer. The riffs are tight and even very catchy after a few listens, but the solos, though few and far between, are simply superb. The lead guitar tone itself sounds terrific. It sounds like it came from one of the more polished and produced black metal bands out there (like Dark Fortress or Dark Funeral). The actual solo parts possess a melodic fluidity that you generally don’t get with black metal of any kind. John Doe nails it every single time he steps up, and in my opinion, sets a new standard for lead black metal guitar. They’re so good, they almost sound out of place until you realize how much better it makes the music sound as a whole.
The songwriting is also top-notch from beginning to end. Once you skip past one of the all-time most pointless intro tracks ever recorded, it’s pretty much black metal bliss until the end. The tempo never reaches a point of sounding out of control (a Dirge Rep staple), yet none of the songs feel slow, plodding, or boring. It always seems like there’s something interesting to digest, which is probably why it took a little while to get completely immersed in this album’s awesomeness. The way the band uses varied time signatures between instruments in “The ground surrenders” creates one of the coolest tracks I’ve heard in a while. The guitars blaze away in three while the drums keep pounding in four, and the whole package just sounds incredible.
Lyrically, this album is pure poetry, and Nox makes it conceivable that you could understand a great deal of those lyrics within a few listens. Black metal lyrics always teeter around the territory of becoming overly cheesy. This album retains all the darkness, evil, and hate without overdoing it. When you hear Nox almost pleading for global destruction to come, you can actually hear a very authentic, human desire to express his disdain for life, and it’s fucken amazing.
So, in closing, I’d like to apologize to Craft. I should have spent more time with this album to begin with. This is a definite “Album of the Year” caliber album (especially in a year like last year). It’s dark, catchy, and brimming with unbridled hatred and evil, and quite possibly one of my favorite black metal albums ever. You don’t even have to love black metal to enjoy this album. It’s so good, I think it transcends genre bias. This is Craft’s magnum opus. This is a black metal classic.
There is no tomorrow.
This evening, we drink to the day the world ended.
Written for globaldomination.se