Spain's Black Metal act Spellcraft continue to tell haunting stories with their sophomore effort 'Yersinia Pestis.' Usually seen as a traditional Black Metal act with raw screeching, tremolo picking, and corpsepaint galore, this effort feels like their branching out a bit more. Sure there are the traditional furious pieces like "Negra Sangre" that seem to go by faster than once would expect. But, there are also more Folk oriented pieces, such as the opening "Tierra Profanada" which includes acoustic sections, clean chants, and overall a much more effective 'storytelling' atmosphere that draws listeners much better than the typical Black Metal approach. As the album progresses the band does their best to merge the two together, such as the heavier introduction to "Yersinia Pestis" and then going into the clean vocal style again while still maintaining heavy guitars, but with more melody. On the downside, the clean vocals can sound quite wavering at times, almost like a goat singing. Whether or not this was done on purporse, it may toss aside some of the serious thoughts that fans once had about Black Metal.
Other tracks are more culturally influenced. 'Lilith's Breath' includes some Middle Eastern influence that one might expect from a group like Melechesh, but doesn't overdo it. "Shrouded By Darkness" invokes a violin and a classically dark atmosphere which is more effective in its few minutes of worth at giving off a feeling of creepiness as opposed to an average Black Metal track of four minutes which just screams away in the ear. True, the vocals have been faded out and are difficult to hear, but it forces one to listen and get sucked into the music rather than hear the first thirty seconds, know what the rest of the track will be like, and skip to something more innovative. In short, new fans of Spellcraft will find this effort quite enjoyable and more of a progressive step than previous efforts from other more home-based Black Metal groups, such as Setherial, while those familiar with the band will see 'Yersinia Pestis' as a way of the group becoming more unique without losing that original, raw sound that drew them in in the first place.