From the moment you lay eyes on the cover – a semi-naked women blindfolded in front of an atomic explosion – you get the sense that French act Craving are not entirely right in the head. The fact that this six track, nineteen minute EP is entitled ‘fucked up beyond repair’ settles it – Craving are head-cases of the first water, which, surely, can only be a god thing!
Opening track ‘Bed Romanz’ proves without a doubt that Craving are a band you want in your life, a deep voice gives way to urgent, chugging riffs backing up terrifyingly gruff vocals delivered by a singer (Raphi) with a voice so raw it sounds as if he has spent the vast majority of his life eating razor blades. Stunningly heavy mid-tempo riffs collide with passages of rampaging fury to great effect and, most remarkably of all thing, despite the innate aggression the whole thing is constructed so as to be both shockingly heavy and deeply memorable. It’s one hell of an opening track and one that will have metal fans running to order a copy within seconds of hearing it thanks, not only to the band’s excellent song-writing skills but also to a chunky production job that keeps everything clear and heavy. ‘Kalashnimosh’ is a sleigh ride through the forests of brutality, the riff scything across bass-drum-heavy percussion and the whole thing shored up by Raphi’s terrifying vocals. Better yet it’s a song of endless invention with multiple tempos and riffs explored over its depressingly short run time. The title track is more groove orientated with a memorable riff that is part thrash, part mid-nineties groove metal coupled with Raphi’s visceral vocal attack. Couple all this with a well thought out solo in the bridge and you have a clear winner that will delight metal fans with its complex an yet accessible edge.
Never was a song more aptly named than ‘Kraken’ which, whether it refers to the mind-bending alcohol or mythical (and deadly) sea-beastie, does a good job of comprehensively re-arranging your brain cells as you head-bang your way through a track that utilises classic heavy metal structures alongside a vocal performance that is nothing short of utterly mental and throws in a few scything Slayer style riffs for good measure. The brilliantly titled ‘chilli con carnage’ (a reference perhaps to the morning after a particularly spicy incarnation of that gut-wrenching dish?) is up next and it is a churning, wrenching piece indeed, the guitars phasing up to meet the oncoming percussive rush of David’s drums and Giu’s simian bass lines. Fancy double bass footwork and a sudden mid-song u-turn from free flowing rage to brain melting mid-tempo chug, every time you think you have a handle on the band they go shooting off in another direction just to make sure that you are always willing to follow and never likely to get bored. Indeed boredom is the last thing you will feel over this shockingly intense twenty-minute ride, the band cramming so much invention into each song you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just listened to a double album by the time it finishes. Final track ‘yaya’ conforms to the old adage ‘save the best for last’ for, as good as the rest of the album is, ‘yaya’ is simply insurmountable – a throbbing, aching masterpiece of whirlwind guitars and tortured vocals. As the song swirls around you – ferocious one minute, slowed down to a sludgy crawl the next – it’s hard to imagine the multiple threads of ambition and inspired lunacy shot through the track if you’ve never heard it, and if you are in any doubt as to the brilliance of Craving check out this one song immediately – it will tell you everything you need to know!
Craving are one of those awesome bands who are the perfect weapon against those who argue that music is not creative any more. Their songs are wide-ranging and yet gloriously heavy and memorable all at once and the band are clearly talented in their respective fields. Highest marks must surely go to Raphi with his deranged screams but the whole band are clearly revelling in the unhinged noise they make and it makes for a hugely enjoyable listen. A well played, excellently produced and brilliantly written EP – Craving have it all… now go check them out!