Voidcraeft
Negation Made Flesh

Microtonality seems to be creeping its way into black metal as of late. Aside from a brief implementation on Blut aus Nord‘s revolutionary album The Work Which Transforms God, Adam Kalmbach (better known as the sole member of Jute Gyte) was the first to really use it as a central concept, pushing the boundaries of microtonality in a rigorous, highly structured manner that would make Schoenberg proud – his most recent album, Ressentiment, utilises “four-voice canons, extended technique industrial riffing, [and] polyrhythmic process music”… whatever those phrases mean.

This brings us to Voidcraeft, another one-man band that put out an EP back in June entitled Faceless Epoch, which adopted a – you guessed it – microtonal tuning, thus making it, like, the second “one-man technical microtonal black metal” I’ve come across. Quite the feat. According to the unnamed man behind Voidcraeft (whom I’ll henceforth refer to as ‘the man’ for simplicity’s sake), “each second string, starting with the lowest one, [is] tuned down by 50 cents”. (Jute Gyte, on the other hand, use a guitar modified to have twice as many frets.)

While I do enjoy me a bit of Jute Gyte now and then, by some combination of its sheer abrasiveness and uncompromisingly lo-fi recording quality, it tends to cross the fine line between the harsh and the unlistenable. Voidcraeft, on the other hand, manage to find the perfect balance of noisy textures and technical riffing, composing straightforward, but no less effective, black metal that rips your flesh apart with an incisive, unforgiving, and almost industrial precision.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in its tenth release (in barely over a year!), Negation Made Flesh, which features some of Voidcraeft’s most harrowing riffs yet. Among the man’s primary influences are Portal and Deathspell Omega, and you can definitely hear how the nebulous riffing of the former integrates with the searing, hellish atmospheres of the latter (mainly on Paracletus) to produce a salvo of jarring tremolos, punctuated by several breaks of arpeggios and chords. A rather basic formula, admittedly, but the consistency with which the riffs are delivered more than makes up for it.

It’s interesting to note that, having previously relied on a drum machine, Negation Made Flesh is actually the first Voidcraeft release to feature human drumming (and possibly the last, as the man has made the decision to play the drums himself on future releases). Chris Balch, of the genre-hopping one-man band Nostril Caverns, does the drums here. They’ve got this nice and punchy, natural sound to them, though that robust snare tone might get to you after a while. In his own band he often reaches mind-warping levels of Biolichian technicality; here he defaults to your household blastbeat (and its triplet equivalent) for like half the album, though with plenty of fills to keep it interesting. I mean just listen to that over-the-top burst of snares at 5:57 of “The False Image of Life”! It’s mostly during the slower bits where he pulls out a few more tricks – check out 1:32 of “The Bliss of Stagnation” for a nice flurry of cymbals.

No one track is weaker than the other four on the album, though there are a couple of short-lived moments that really stand out from the rest. Take, for example, the apocalyptic break at 5:51 of “Emissary of the Void”, its spiteful tendrils threatening to drill themselves into your brain, or 2:51 of “A Flash of the Absolute”, with its hypnotic drum beat and undulating bass. The 5/4 section at 5:32 of “Flight from Men” (as well as the tremolos that follow) displays the Deathspell Omega influence very prominently, due to the slightly forlorn vibe it gives. 

Voidcraeft has already built up an impeccable track record and is showing no signs of slowing down. It’s unfortunate that Voidcraeft will likely share the same fate as other hyper-productive projects (Njiqahdda, Senmuth, and even Jute Gyte), remaining in its own corner of obscurity, but for the dedicated, Voidcraeft‘s discography will prove to be a fruitful one to explore, and Negation Made Flesh is a perfect place to dive in. The man’s finally comfortable with his sound, and it shows.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Joseph Y
December 3rd, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Nice Jute Gyte reference- met Adam-nice guy


  2. Commented by: thatguy

    He’s not getting micro tones without a fretless guitar or a custom neck.fact.


  3. Commented by: Guilliame

    Not micro-tonal. Out of tune. 50 cents off is just out of tune. It is killing my ears unlike micro-tonal.


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