When it comes to Sweden's Craft, it's become relatively safe to anticipate a high-quality brand of fairly raw, aggressive black metal in what I guess is typically thought to be the "classic" approach—with the usual dose of creeping dissonance, pounding midpaced oomph, etc. Upon my first listen to their fourth album, "Void" (released by Southern Lord), I actually felt that this album was a bit of a change of pace for the band. It seemed somehow a little more stripped down, and perhaps Motörhead-ish (in a manner comparable to Darkthrone's more recent work, for example). But I don't really feel that way anymore, and I'm not really sure why. I guess this material is a slight shift from "Fuck the Universe", at least. The production feels like it has a little more of a rugged density to it, and there's at least a perceived increase in pulsing, efficiently repetitive riffing—in part evidenced by the fact that the nine songs (one of which is a mere 20-second intro) clock in for a total of nearly 50 minutes. And, yeah, there are a number of passages that possess more noticeable nods to that straightforward, moderately paced, Motörhead-esque "rock" element. But where Darkthrone will do that kind of thing for three-and-a-half minutes straight for a song called "Raised on Rock", Craft will do it for a minute or so before moving in another direction in tracks like "Come Resonance of Doom" or "The Ground Surrenders" (both of which push the six-minute mark). It's possible that the bulk of the album is just a touch on the "slower" side of things, and that's enough to alter the listener's perception. And they'll throw in some weird bends, harmonics, or uniquely textured layering to keep things interesting, too. There are even a few quick, surprisingly melodic leads scattered about. But, all that being said, there are also fierce, snarling screams aplenty; not to mention gnashing tremolo picking; blasting percussion; eerie, discordant riffing; and all of the other characteristics mentioned above as generally expected staples of the Craft sound (the final two minutes or so of the otherwise very atypical 8+ minute title track are a fine example of the band's epically bleak potential). You really can't go wrong with Craft. They may tweak the formula here and there, but they consistently deliver awesome albums, and "Void" is no exception.