Craving – By the Storm (Apostasy Records)

Thursday, 3rd November 2016
Rating: 8/10

It’s been three years since Craving released their second full-length, At Dawn. Sure, there’s been a more recent EP (two of the songs re-appear here) but with a three year wait, fans are no doubt craving a new album to enjoy. By the Storm continues in the same manner as their previous release but that’s not a bad thing by any means.

Craving take elements of black, death, and folk metal and vary their proportions with each track to give things a more dynamic perspective. Some songs bring out more of a catchy flavor to them, complete with clean vocal choruses (“Wielder of Storms” or “Penelope’s Prayer”) and some sweltering melodies that contrast from the more blast-ridden verses. Sound familiar? Probably, but there’s no denying the level at which Craving can operate. The choruses are full of compelling material, and the vocal/riff/synth combo give it an urgent tone. “Cave of a Dream” and their gripping cover of the Game of Thrones theme also suit the band in this regard, with the latter having an almost Blind Guardian feel to it at times. Other tracks take a more ripping tone, such as “Spirits of the Dead” and “Wenn der Wind sich dreht” embracing more black metal fury while keeping the melodies present but in a more subtle form. It’d be easy for Craving to take one route and stick with it, but with the nuance they’ve provided with a mix of aggressive and melodic tracks, they are a better band for it.

A sleek production, a diversity of ideas, and interesting songwriting keep By the Storm afloat for its 72-minute span. Craving have slowly elevated themselves with each release, and even though it continues down a familiar pathway, the band has shown progression in the way that they craft songs at every stop along the way.

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