Despite Craft having been extant for some 19 years under that name, White Noise and Black Metal is only the band’s fifth full album. It is also their first release since 2011.

Admirers of the band from that point and beyond will be gratified to learn that this hiatus has not been spent reinventing the band’s worldview or musical outlook. The Craft of 2011 is largely the Craft of 2018. With one or two small differences.

The band are very much an everyman black metal band. The listener, new or old, can approach this release taking comfort from this fact. There is familiarity in sound to be found at almost every turn.

Tracks such as Tragedy of Pointless Games do perhaps feature a more simplistic approach. The heavy riffs employed towards the end of the song have more in common with Entombed than, say Emperor. This will be found to be refreshing or disturbing depending on the listener’s standpoint. This reviewer found the brief change of stylistic intent interesting and energising.

Darkness Falls is similarly straightforward. However the vocals of Nox remain firmly rooted in black metal tradition and delivery, as they do throughout the album. This attempt at musical brevity is aided by a sophisticated production ethic. The sound of the record is very definitely tipped in favour of a more traditional rock/metal sound, accentuating the heavy bass and drum input of Alex and session player Daniel Moilanen. It works. Even at the expense of the traditional frost-bitten sound associated with bands such as Craft.

Perhaps more traditional would be the dissonance of penultimate track YHVH’s Shadow. Here the band coalesce all the elements of their sound, both forward looking and prosaic, to provide possibly the most compelling moments of the album. The band move from high-paced battery to close with a thrilling, halflit crawl that flawlessly shows the quintet in it’s most favourable light. Perhaps this would be the best blueprint for future releases.

White Noise and Black Metal is a highly enjoyable album, though perhaps just too much favouring an accessible tone for true lovers of stygian black metal. It will be released by Season of Mist Records on June 22nd.