If members of a black metal band embarked on a project that sounded like a film soundtrack and then also channelled various bits of early 80s goth and Nick Cave, that would be a bit of a jumble, but a fairly cool one nonetheless. Such a rambling bag of ideas is the closest approximation of describing the sounds with which French band Krasseville fill their 2015 release ‘Nous Somme Faux’. It’s avant-garde for sure, yet at the same time, it’s also strangely listenable.
The earlier releases by Texas-based The Howling Void explore an almost pure doom metal sound – all Sabbathy riffs played at funeral pace, only occasionally lightened by slow piano motifs. For doom fans, each presents interesting listening, but this fifth release ‘Runa’ is epic in almost every sense. The purer doom elements have been tempered by a greater inclusion of keyboard sounds, often lending things a more symphonic style. Yes, it is more symphonic, but nothing here would appeal to fans of those over-hyped, reasonably marketable indenti-kit symphonic metal bands who’ve spread across Europe like a plague. ‘Runa’ isn’t concerned with mixing metal with the embarrassingly twee while some woman wearing a leather corset wails incessantly; fear not – it’s just more a natural progression from previous recordings, blending the doom with a smattering of ambient black metal a la Wolves In The Throne Room. Those who want the huge and the doomy certainly won’t feel like the band has somehow sold out. This isn’t really a band, either, of course. It’s the work of just one man – the mysterious “R.” plays everything on recordings released under the Howling Void name (and he probably doesn’t wear a leather corset). The fact that a one man army could compose and perform a work as complete sounding as ‘Runa’ often does is truly astounding.