Published Jun 21, 2018After a seven-year silence, Sweden's Craft break the spell with an album that attempts to embody the magnitude and confidence of a grand return, but succeeds only partially. Reflecting the stunning album cover, White Noise and Black Metal is a work of two aspects, with strength and weakness balancing each other out.
"The Cosmic Sphere Falls" opens strong, with an urgency and haunting scale that brings to mind vistas of cosmic horror, before laying into the balls-out, take-no-prisoners spirit of "Again," which sounds like equal parts Darkthrone and Dimmu Borgir.
"Undone" is a sweeping, hellish epic that washes over the listener like the raging waters of Acheron, and shifts throughout from sounding victorious and confident to desperate and manic.
But to match with White Noise and Black Metal's hot streak, there is an almost equal amount of filler, perhaps most obviously on "Crimson," which is an intermission drawn out to the length of a full song. "Tragedy of Pointless Games" seems devoid of any energy, and lacks the initial gusto that the first three tracks on the album so readily displayed, carrying on at a sluggish pace and highlighting a weakness in the drumming in particular that carries through all of the album.
White Noise and Black Metal has a lot to like, offering up some memorable riffs and atmosphere, but is not the momentous comeback that Craft probably intended. Throughout, Craft appear to be fighting with limitations in both their instrumentation and in genre trappings as a whole, so that even while hitting those high points, it rarely amounts to any more than conventional black metal that struggles to set itself apart. (Season of Mist)