Crafteon – Cosmic Reawakening
Ahh, new bands. So bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take the metal scene by the schwantz and become the next big name. Young American black metal band Crafteon have the potential to become a band of decent renown in time, given the trajectory they’ve set for themselves with their debut “Cosmic Reawakening.”
Lovecraft is the name of the game here. A quick look-see at the song titles and the ever-wriggly-faced Cthulhu on the cover will make it obvious that everything is an homage to the works of Lovecraft. The booklet is also adorned with fantastic artwork. No lyrics in an old English font a blank page for Crafteon. Every page has artwork representative of the song lyrics printed there, so the passion is obvious. On top of that, band frontman Lord Mordiggian is a teacher of literature (wonder if his students have to call him that?), which I imagine can only add to his appreciation of Lovecraft’s writings and the cosmos he created. While most bands including Lovecraftian themes craft their songs in such a way that they represent the horrors themselves, Crafteon’s songs are instead written to accompany the actual narrative of the tales, giving a great storytelling feel to the music. This, in turn, takes you on a proper journey through the Cthulhu mythos.
Crafteon play black metal with more melody than you can shake a night-gaunt at; thinking of Dissection, Naglfar, Eucharist or later Dawn won’t lead you too far astray from what Crafteon sound like, although they never attain the same levels of aggression and speed as those bands. There’s very little full-gallop blasting, with Crafteon instead opting to keep a mid-paced tempo. While I tend to prefer the rawer, harsher side of black metal, I can’t deny that what they’ve done here fits what they’re going for perfectly. “Cosmic Reawakening” has impressive production values, especially for a self-released debut. It’s very clear, with a crisp, buzzy tone, and… holy shit, is that… yes! You can hear bass! In fact, it’s always audible, and sounds like a high-tension bridge cable. Their melodies let them bring some very emotional passages to the table; the opening to “What the Moon Brings” and the melancholic main riff from “The Colour Out of Space” are very evocative, the latter being my favourite track on the album.
However, at parts it can be a little too melodic. As an example, the passage in “The Beyond” starting around the minute and a half mark is too bouncy and takes you out of the macabre atmosphere they’ve cultivated. The voiceover near the end of the same track is also a bit much and you really just want them to get on with it. The vocals are strongly performed, but can be a little melodramatic with too much groaning and moaning here and there.
All in all though, “Cosmic Reawakening” is certainly a successful first outing for Crafteon. Anyone with an appreciation for melodic death metal and all things cosmic and squishy will probably find something to like here. They’re relatively accessible insofar as black metal goes and write catchy tracks that remain appropriately heavy. Those who are into the nastiest of what black metal has to offer will probably find this too clean, but for everyone else, it should be a good time.