Sweden’s Craft has inched closer and closer to “mainstream” on every album. Yes, it may anger those with corpse painted balls to admit this, but it’s true. Many fans, myself included, considered their last album Void a bit of a misstep. It’s not great, this is true, however it’s not the flaming bag of shit that it seems to be widely considered. Sure “I Want to Commit Murder” may be the worst song Craft has ever written, but the album is still…uh, fun? Either way, White Noise and Black Metal (don’t stress the title, this is a Velvet Underground reference, and Season of Mist doesn’t release sketchy shit) is a welcome slide in the right direction, but it isn’t without it’s flaws.
While White Noise and Black Metal has the crystal clear sheen of a typical modern black metal album, there’s no denying the riffs are still there. Craft‘s got a way of making parts with groove, and on this album, there’s a marked “black and roll” influence that really works for them. While the blistering, headbang inducing parts that made Fuck The Universe so perfect are fewer, they’re still present, and when Craft turns the fury up to 11, they succeed at firing on all cylinders in a way few of their contemporaries can match.
So, onto the not so good parts…the album is pretty much one speed, and it’s mid tempo. There’s minor variances here and there, but as a whole, you’re really only getting one mood from this. The vocals are sorta generic, and while they work, with the newfangled rock and roll influences, there was definitely some room for creativity. While the old adage “if it ain’t broke…” rings true, Craft was adventurous enough instrumentally here, they could have used some sort of vocal experimentation as well. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I could also use a more raw production. While they’re not an incredibly atmospheric band, rawness suits the grit that Craft tends to put into their songwriting. This clear and polished sound doesn’t work perfectly.
Those who hated Void may find something to like here. Those looking for a full return to a more raw and frenzied sound may hate this album. I dig Craft, and always have in all of their iterations. I’m glad their back, and glad I preordered this based on the sample tracks.
Release Date: July 22, 2018
Label: Season of Mist
For fans of: Watain, Mgla