I’ve had an awfully fun time covering Craven Idol‘s The Shackles of Mammon. From the first minute I got my hands on this album, it sunk its teeth into me and refused to let go, and now that its release date is around the corner, I’m honored to give a more detailed account of this ferocious offering. If you want an inside look into the making of The Shackles of Mammon, check out my interview with the band, where they were kind enough to discuss everything from their new members to the inspiration behind the incredible cover art pictured above. Otherwise, read on to get my thoughts on this ripper of an album.
Craven Idol create a sound that perfectly balances the structure of early black and thrash metal with a modern ferocity and conviction that puts them miles ahead of similar “hero worship” bands. From the evil thrash attack of “Black Flame Divination” or “Hunger”, to the heavy stomp of the aptly named “The Trudge”, The Shackles of Mammon recalls the glory days of old-school metal. Where many similar acts feel tired in their attempt to pay homage to their forefathers, however, it is Craven Idol’s varied approach to songwriting that take them above and beyond.
Indeed, perhaps my favorite aspect of what makes Shackles such a great album is not only how Craven Idol have out-performed their competitors but also themselves. The leap forward in sound and performance from 2013’s “Towards Eschaton” is immediately noticeable. Much of this has to do with the new personnel on board. Drummer Heretic Blades not only fits perfectly in with established bass player Suspiral, but contributed much to the songwriting process, and guitarist Obscenitor offsets the more jagged riffs with just the right textural elements to keep things musical. Of course, that doesn’t mean the aggression hasn’t been kicked into high gear as well; the riffs here hit harder and the solos burn faster than anything on Eschaton, and the vocal performance on these songs is absolutely some of the most feral, unhinged, and awesome I’ve heard in recent memory. Lots of bands like to say they have expanded both aggression and melody from past releases, yet few actually achieve this level of self-improvement like Craven Idol have.
The Shackles of Mammon is an album that successfully takes the sounds of the old-school in the right direction for a modern audience. The list of influences present on this album could be tossed around from here to eternity, but why bother when Craven Idol clearly sit in a class of their own? One day, there may even come a wave of bands that look back on this album as a hallmark of their own sound. I hope they do it justice like Craven Idol have done their idols justice.
SUMMON THE FUCKING FLAMES