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Cradle of Filth tends to change their style all the time, and this is the biggest change yet. I can't even recognize 'black metal' here anymore; this sounds like I-don't-know-what, but they've been wildly experimenting, even throwing in an orchestra. I'm listening to 'Hurt and Virtue' - say, is that power metal? Like some Children of Bodom, it is. I wouldn't know that this is Cradle of Filth if Dani wasn't there. Still, it's always comforting to know that every next album of Cradle of Filth will most likely be very different, because there is more than enough music of this kind on this CD.
The songs have a very polished sound and Dani's singing or pig squealing sounds much better than most of his noise on the studio albums, but not as exciting as him going live. 'Serpent Tongue' (cool!) and the wind-in-your-face-blowing 'Doberman Pharaoh' kick off and rock hard on high volume, and 'Mannequin' is quite unlike anything I've heard. The biggest problem with the songs are that they're too repetitive; verse-refrain-verse-refrain... ugh, where are all the unpredictable and super-erratic masterpieces like 'Dusk and Her Embrace' or 'The Forest Whispers My Name'? Also, Cradle doesn't apparently know how to start a song anymore, as most of the songs start
in a very annoying and uninteresting way; 'Hurt and Virtue' and 'The Promise of Fever' should learn some foreplay from those good old songs I mentioned, and not go off before the listener even has got wet; listening to 'Better to Reign in Hell' is about as fun as getting raped.
They songs start off INTO THE MAIN RIFF WITHOUT ANY WARM-UP WHATSOEVER, like some cheesy german excrement power metal. Almost every song does this, and it works only three or four songs. These are the real problems on this album - the often accused over-polished sound is
really an advantage. The album sure is entertaining, but in the composition not very complex and artistic, and I don't particularly like most of the songs. Often the case has been that songs which I haven't liked on studio albums have turned out to be great when performed live (such as 'Her Ghost in the Fog' and 'The Forest Whispers My Name' which I didn't care about before I heard them live, and they jumped right up in my top 10 best songs of all time), so maybe some of these songs will become better when performed live.
'Thank God for the Suffering'. The title of that song; how ironic, since listening to it made me suffer - and I won't thank god for it.