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Craft - Fuck the Universe

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Artist: Craft

Album: Fuck the Universe

Label: Southern Lord

Review date: Jan. 29, 2006

A Creem magazine hangover informs us that the most appeasing musical cocktail is a friendly but equal mix of technique to novelty, which when liberally applied may result in something extraordinary; a handy slide-rule for dead ears that find difficulty in separating, say Captain Beefheart from Captain & Tennille. Calculation of this sort should never have to happen, but it does, and regarding far more nuanced distinctions than differentiating fractured blues from the fossilized au courant. Nuance isn’t a noun usually tossed around in the midst of discussions re: Black Metal, but as there are more than a few bloggers typing about the differences between Meg and Jennifer Tilly’s titties, even a genre as stubbornly static as Black Metal is regularly split into several progressive strains.

Sweden’s Craft, while still a relatively young band, knocked out two full-lengths that showed the omnipresent fascination with Norway’s Darkthrone, and a nagging predilection to lapse into more narcotized crawls regularly associated with doom metal. Terror Propaganda, Craft’s last full-length, with its cut-and-paste artwork, repetitive guitar riffs, and retching vocals was an engaging record; nearly an improvement on early Gorgoroth or Immortal, ably mixing thrash-and-slash hatred with articulate – and even meditative – morosely instrumental passages.

Craft’s latest, the embarrassingly titled Fuck the Universe, is neither Darkthrone worship nor doom metal. The recording is lush, guitar heavy, and prone to pointless wandering – an impoverished imitation of Carpathian Forest channeling G.B.H. or Discharge, which is neither a technical display, nor novel; a restless and numbing listening experience made worse by Craft’s palpable restlessness with their own material. As with Carpathian Forest, there are grooves, mid-tempo struts, and blasphemy heavy vocal spats. And it doesn’t sound forced, or disingenuous, but it does sound incredibly disinterested, a derivation even the deadest ears can make.

By Stewart Voegtlin

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