American black metal legion Crafteon have released one of those rare albums that, despite offering nothing new to the development of their chosen genre, still presents the listener with an enjoyable and at times exciting listening experience.

All the ancient black metal Gods are acknowledged in one way or another on Cosmic Reawakening. Should you feel so minded, you’ll have fun picking out the influences as they present themselves to you. That said, the songs on Cosmic Reawakening don’t have the full-on emotional effect conjured by the likes of Dissection or Bathory just yet. However, there are real moments – Fthaggua’s lead playing on The Temple, for instance – that really will make you pause and concentrate more fully on the band’s performance and accomplishment.

Devotees of the more brutal side of black metal will perhaps feel rather disgruntled when they listen to the album, as moments when pure darkness reigns are sadly few and far apart. Indeed, the album overall does feel slightly too controlled. A headlong descent in to the abyss is sometimes hinted at without properly manifesting itself (the mid section of Dagon springs to mind), and there are times when the listener might just wish for a little more unbridled hate to be allowed to filter into the songs.

The White Ship will probably incur the most listener- wrath in this respect; The song actually sounds like something Manowar might have attempted a long time ago, being more in the genre of battle metal than true black metal. It’s enjoyable, certainly, but is so far removed from the other material on the album that it could quite easily be mistaken for the work of another band entirely. Strange.

Still, that is almost certainly my personal taste clouding my critical faculty. Overall, as noted earlier, Cosmic Reawakening is a well-constructed piece of melodic black metal, easy to listen to and certainly worthy of repeated listening.

Cosmic Reawakening is out now.