Metal Bulletin Zine (est. 2006) is a metal music zine (Seattle region), online and on paper. 160 issues so far.
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Friday, August 25, 2017
[review by MMB]
Release: 25 August 2017
Crafteon is traditional occult extremity in the form of pure melodic black metal executed at an uptempo, headbanging pace. Skilled with the knowledge and the abilities to play this music in the classic ways, Crafteon is a band made for and perfect for those seeking several traits in extreme metal: a sense of melody present throughout, tremolo guitar playing, classic-style black metal vocals, songs that you can remember, a bass guitar that is very audible and the sensation of pure black metal. In addition, there are two outstanding reasons why this work is worthy of your dedication. The first reason is that you can easily tell that they have devoted time and effort towards making good music. For instance, the bass guitar is an integral component of these songs and you can feel its presence at all times, in the same way that you, for instance, always feel it in Iron Maiden and Motorhead, to name two fundamental cases in which the bass is important. Of course, the guitar melodies are big. It's not just an issue of guitar solos, but rather an element that is front and center for the listener to take hold and catch a ride on this black metal quest. In short, if a band can demonstrate amply and indubitably that they have busted their hump to make good music, as much as they can within a particular style, within their means and abilities, then that's pentagrams in their favor.
Therefore, the dedication to making a recording of which they can be proud is a key reason to research this band. However, I had previously mentioned that there are two reasons for giving Crafteon your attention. The second reason is the songs. This music is as naked as possible; vocals, drums, bass and guitar (Are there keyboards here? I can’t hear any.). What do we have? The first song that the world has heard is "What the Moon Brings." That's fine. Let's begin there and take other songs at random. Big tremolo melodies. A huge bass line that hits the bottom end big time. Very catchy. Some grim vocals, some higher-register notes and some lower scowls. The main melody is infectious. "The White Ship" boasts an undeniable bass sound that threatens to become master of the song until the melodies take over to make the sound fuller. This pace is a comfortable uptempo beat. Not too slow, not too fast, slow enough to allow to notice the details, fast enough at least to get the neck moving. The gigantic melodies take the song to a higher plane, one that was not expected because everything was good already. "Dagon" underlines how easy and simple Crafteon makes it all look easy. The constant spiraling of the melody weaves and builds at a steady pace. On the other hand, "The Colour out of Space," gives the impression of a more vocally-driven song and it has a slightly different feel, with the vocals at center. Drums and bass drive the beginning of "The Whisperer in the Darkness." The black-metal-monk lower vocals contrast noticeably with the higher vocals in the song. The guitar solo/harmony is simple and effective, then the picking gets faster and it feels like it is driving to the end of the song, which also happens to be the end of the album.
It's possible that some listeners will have to get used to the band's fuller sound, the sound of a whole band in which you can hear everyone. The band plays uptempo songs in general, but they don't push the speed to blasting as a habit or a crutch. This is an advantage for them, though. It's often the case recording blasting metal runs into the problem of sounding like a big jumbled mess, leaving people wondering why they can't hear all the instruments. I am curious to hear more music from this band to see how they will handle the production in the future. Personally, I think that at times I would like for the drums to come up just a little bit, and take down the bass ever so slightly, with the hope that the rhythm guitars in particular are more audible throughout.
Finally, speaking for myself, I had the feeling that Crafteon was something creative. I sensed in the overall sound their desire to be great. After listening to the album for days on end to confirm, I'm glad to report that they definitely have made a very cool album, in my opinion. I have not heard another black metal band that sounds like this one, certainly not this year and not that I can remember in the recent past. The idea of classic black metal is important to the band and I think that you will sense it, too. Crafteon is not about playing fast or slow for the sake of it. It's about a general thing like atmosphere. You might hear distant echoes of classic Dissection and Euronymous-era Mayhem, maybe also some of the earlier, younger and more melodic Marduk, for instance (Not that I know this information for a fact). Whatever their inspirations may be, I find the musical objectives of the band commendable.