Craft, Total Soul Rape

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

There aren't an abundance of albums that are awesome before they're ten seconds old, but that's exactly the case with this debut from Swedish black metal band Craft. You get a single isolated drum-roll as a warm-up, and then it's full-on Armageddon. The title track is a massive, stomping monster, fusing the lurch of early '90s hardcore to pitch-black death metal de-tunings. Ditto "(Desolation) Death," where vocalist Nox (short for Noxious?) strains mightily against the limits of his larynx. And while Craft specializes in full-on assault, this is hardly a record of monochromatic pounding and thrashing: songs stop on a dime, change tempos, guitars bend back like slingshots and odd shards of melody sparkle out in the darkness. Indeed, they don't even have to be playing to disturb: the churning sound-collage outro is one of the most unsettling pieces of music I've ever heard.