2015 was an exceptionally shitty year for me, citizens. Not musically of course, as there was a smorgasbord of excellent albums released, metal and otherwise. But in every other facet of life, just so much crap. My business and my headquarters were reduced to nothing in weeks. And I had to spend the better part of a year rebuilding. I’m still in the process now, but what can you do? 2016 didn’t get off to a good start either. The world lost Lemmy, Natalie Cole, and David Bowie in less than four weeks right at the start, yet Attila still remain and sell records. Maite Perroni STILL hasn’t returned my phone calls. People actually think the new Megadeth is good. And worst of all, one of my favorite black/thrash bands decided to change shit up a bit on their latest, which worked out exactly as well as you’d think. Now I have to find another great black/thrash band that pumps me up and makes me want to rage against mankind if I’m going to get through the rest of the year, especially with this election making everyone extra fucking stupid. Luckily I have just the band in mind. While definitely not new, they still fit the bill of black/thrash with an epic feel perfectly (don’t tell them that however, as they hate being labeled black/thrash). So let’s slam down a couple of stouts and talk about Craven Idol, shall we?
Craven Idol hail from the climes of London, UK. They started in 2005 with S. Vrath on guitar and vocals under the pseudonym Immolator of Sadistik Wrath and Scouger on second guitar. S.C. Volgard joined the band on drums in 2010 along with Suspirial on bass. The band have two demos; the first simply titled Demo #1 in 2006, and the Recrucify demo in 2009. This was followed by the Ethereal Altars EP in 2010 on Hammer of Hate Records and finally the full-length Towards Eschaton in 2013 on Dark Descent. Volgard left the band just before the EP was released, and for now the band remains a three piece.
Frankly, there isn’t much to say about Craven Idol, citizens. Eh, maybe one or two things.
They have all the great trademarks of black/thrash; the tremolo laden smorgasbord of riffs, the high-pitched raspy vocals, the Teutonic/Brazilian thrash-influenced, faster-than-standard-black metal song tempos, the lyrics giving a proverbial middle finger to all that is holy and good. So why then do I hold this foursome over most others of their ilk? Because they crib their inspirations from a couple of places unusual to their genre to create something that this maniac finds special. The early Sodom, Hellhammer, and Bathory influences are certainly there. But instead of just using the raw as all fuck offerings of Apocalyptic Raids and Under the Sign of the Black Mark as their canvas, CI also admit to incorporating more than a bit of the Finnish black metal scene in their sound (Sargiest, Beherit, and the like.), what with the abundance of melody, the choral chanting and the soaring solos peppered throughout both releases (though used to much better effect on Eschaton). But there’s also more than a small helping of post-reunion Manilla Road manifesting in the dark doom-laden sections and overall sense of awe. I can definitely hear it; compare the first two minutes of Eschaton’s kickass opener “To Summon Maryion” to say, anything off of Gates of Fire or Spiral Castle. This sense of epicness combines quite well with the hateful riffing and Vrath’s unhinged snarling, two traits carried over from his main band Scythian.
Another element carried over from Scythian is Volgard and his maniac drumming, even though it’s FAR more restrained here than in that band, allowing the menace to truly wash over you. When I listen to a song like “Burial Zenith” or “Codex of Seven Demons”, instead of the usual desire to grab the shottie and a beer, hop on my motorbike and go to town on every unsuspecting wiener possible, I hear a clarion call to grab my finest battle-axe and go hunt some fucking angels and bathe in their divine blood. Only two other bands of this style evoke this grand feel that I know of; Aussies Destroyer 666, and the aforementioned Germans Ketzer. Or at least, the latter band USED to. But let’s not cry too much over spilled beer, because THAT usually leads to an empty and broken bottle wedged in someones face.
So two questions remain then; will they release more great music, and where can I get the music they already released? For the first question, considering that Vrath and Volgard are currently focused on Scythian, with a new album and touring and all that, not anytime soon. Although CI are currently touring as well, with their next biggest show the Invictus Records sponsored Unconquered Darkness Fest in Dublin, Ireland. But as for the second question, head on over to Dark Descent’s Bandcamp page linked above and grab Towards Eschaton digitally, or to their main site to grab a physical copy. While you’re there, grab Scythian’s latest as well. It’s more chaotic than CI, but every bit as riffy and good. Also be sure to visit both bands’ Facebook pages and give them much hails.
Until next time, mosh and be well.