"White Noise And Black Metal"

By Lord Randall

While 2011’s “Void” was a worthwhile addition to the CRAFT catalogue, many – present company included – were put off by the overly-processed sound of the drums, admittedly programmed by founding guitarist Joakim Karlsson. On its own, this wasn’t enough to make me actively dislike the album, as there were moments of shining blackness (‘Serpent Soul’, ‘The Ground Surrenders’), but the absence of the visceral element in the drumming kept CRAFT’s fourth from being a true successor to the benchmark “Fuck The Universe”. 

And now, close to seven years later and armed with a session drummer in the person of Daniel Moilanen, the Void lineup returns with “White Noise And Black Metal”, their first for Season Of Mist’s Underground Activists imprint. Opener ‘The Cosmic Sphere Falls’ begins, austere picking and electronic hum over hyper-frantic drumming, CRAFT not so much focused on songcraft here as in creating an atmosphere, giving the track the air of an extended introduction to the album proper. Memorable from the start, ‘Again’ is built upon a riff/rhythm pattern as infectious as bubonic plague, and spreading contagion with hypnotic repetition and a disjointed instrumental break that jerks back into lockstep at the end. I may get some flak for saying this, but the guitars in parts of ‘Darkness Falls’ evoke RATT’s “Dancing Undercover”, catchy despite the subject matter, or maybe due to it, whereas the uncommon-in-black-metal instrumental of ‘Crimson’ is another case of the quartet seeking to invoke an aura, this time to good effect. 

Closing out with ‘White Noise’, CRAFT keeps things largely to the mid-paced, yet excels at such, especially in that sterile yet claustrophobic landscape as is conjured by themselves and KHOLD. Will “White Noise And Black Metal” set the world afire with its crossing of boundaries? No. Will it bring back those who may have strayed? Will it create new fans for the band? It should on both counts. If it doesn’t, fuck ‘em. They’re just white noise anyway.