Craft - _Total Soul Rape_
(Rage of Achilles, 2000)
by: David Rocher (7.5 out of 10)
Standing fast against the ebbing tide, with which as the raucous, harsh, near-primitive tones of primeval black metal have in time mutated into highly sophisticated, intricate and melodious extreme metal, Craft hark back to the malignant times of Darkthrone's _Transylvanian Hunger_ and _Panzerfaust_, _Total Soul Rape_ being their first offering of "vicious black metal". And these Swedes' first effort indeed lives up to its denomination, offering seven tracks (plus an outro programmed by Arckanum's own Shamataae) of grim, raw and extremely misanthropic black metal massively influenced by Darkthrone and Burzum. From the album opener "World of Plague" to the bitter end of "Total Soul Rape", Craft convincingly display their extreme ability to write harsh, violent material, which they successfully fuse with a great sense of dynamics. In fact, although Craft's songwriting is definitely predictable, it nonetheless oozes with energetic time changes, suitably chaotic and un-melodious leads, catchy percussive tricks and -- this is one of Craft's most potent features -- vocalist Mikael's totally insane, painful screams. This hellishly malevolent five-piece clearly have more than just the basic technical abilities and talent required to play quality, compelling black metal, and thus _Total Soul Rape_ is a promising first attempt -- if the squeaky-clean, finely-tuned material of present-day Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth or Marduk fails to whet your appetite for seething, raucous musical unearthliness, fail not to turn to Craft for a rush of true, angered and professional black metal, summoned from the blackest years of the genre.

(article published 13/5/2001)

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