without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
I'm sure many of you are well aware of the difference Cradle of Filth has been showing with every album that comes out. For instance Darkly Darkly... was more of high screams compared to Godspeed. Then I wonder, was it because of the different stories each one incorporated. Godspeed was masculine and Darkly feminine. Well when Evermore Darkly was loose and I listened to one of the new songs within the album entitled "Thank Your Lucky Scars" I was certain I knew what changed about the band. Dani's voice has reached it's limit. His screams can improve no more than what they are now. He has master the technique of screaming in different volumes all in one scream, for instance the intro to "Thank Your Lucky Scars". When I first heard this, I was spellbound. The scream goes really well with the image they're giving themselves. I knew this scream was barely toyed with because in the "Venus Diversa" disc, he constantly repeated this technique.
Now moving more away from Dani, the first disc of the album was a waste of money. The only thing that didn't stop me from flinging the disc out the window was "Transmission From Hell" "Thank Your Lucky Scars" and "Summer Dying Fast" , which is what caused me to want to album so much. No one wants to listen to the same music they just previous bought in the former album. That's what it basically was. In my opinion they didn't even sound better, they actually made the song dreadful. As for the techno song "Forgive Me Father (I'm in a Trance), I always thought Cradle of Filth were pretty good at making those type of songs, so that was pretty interesting to listen to. "Summer Dying Fast" on the other hand, was absolutely amazing! I cannot wait for "Midnight in the Labyrinth", and the best part of all is that that was just the "breadcrumb" of what's actually on the album itself. For Cradle of Filth, that was a big hit.
As for "Venus Diversa" the live show was extremely well. I enjoyed every minute of the show because of how impressive the whole bands' performance was. Dani was really good, especially his screams. Paul, James, and Dave's performance was not bad either. Solos were excellent. However, in my opinion the one that showed the best performance was Martin. Now my opinion might be influenced by my passion for the drums but still, Martin was very enjoyable to watch (Even though he was rarely showed). The beginning was great and the end was memorable. Now for the "rockumentary" that was taken place within the disc, I thought that it wasn't that interesting. Compared to past documentaries, this one was neutral. Nothing really interesting was going on so the film was filled with bits of songs that played while scenes appeared of them performing. Other than that, some scene were humorous (as always).
So was "Evermore Darkly" the bands' downwards spiral or a complete success. I would have to say neither. This was more of a neutral gift from them to us. It's nothing to storm to your local music store and raid the store, but you don't want to pass up the opportunity either. This was exactly what Dani promised us, a little present for us to bare with till Midnight comes out. What more can you expect from an EP?
Another one? Really? I’d known this here Cradle group for many a year, and I know that they can be pretty prolific when they want to be (done so thanks to a plethora of rather pointless singles padding full-lengths and live DVDs), but another CD, PLUS a DVD, a year after their latest recorded work? Seems a bit iffy to me. Now, that being said, I’m not ready to completely pooh-pooh this, even though time has shown me that when CoF put out a new recording a year after a full-length, it tends to suffer from weaker songwriting and a more rushed feel/approach than the one preceding it, but who am I to condemn a group who’s demanded the eyes and ears of any and all despite so much vitriol and unwarranted hate thrown at them?
With that said, I went for this anyway, albeit with trepidation and a scant mental warning afoot, hoping that at least ONE of these discs would be worth my attention…
First, let’s discuss the audio disc (“Evermore Darkly…”). Of the two, this is definitely the weaker one as there isn’t much to offer; two originals songs, three “Venus Aversa” demo tracks, a strange little remix, and a sample off the upcoming “Midnight in the Labyrinth” album (one of the main things that’s held my attention upon getting this clunker…and clearly worth the wait). Actually, when it comes to the two new tracks, only one of them has music: “Transmission from Hell”, as an intro, is a weird one; no real orchestration, no dark atmospheres, just spooky sound effects and Pinhead reading a letter…odd, but not the best intro they’ve had. But when “Thank Your Lucky Scars” comes at you, it’s rather vindicated. Taking plenty of cues from the year’s previous full-length, this track is pretty ferocious in terms of performance and tempo, but it seems to push the dark and melodic end of things to the forefront, bypassing the snarling riffs and blast beats present in favor of gothic strings and a cold musical temperature. Beyond that, however, I couldn’t help but have my attentive juices run a bit dry with the rest of the disc; the demo recordings are pretty interesting as some of them sound even darker and more brutal than the final recordings, and the “extended” version of “Lilith Immaculate” was a little contrived and unnecessary, resulting in my further desire for more original tracks (I already know these songs rather well, time to move on!) And when it came to the darkwave/trance remix of “Forgive Me Father…”, it could’ve had the album come to a screeching halt, as some of the electronic remixes Cradle’s gone through in the past have not really gelled into a decent listen (“Twisting Further Nails” being the biggest example…), but as it is, it’s a fairly catchy number that isn’t so much a remake/remix of the original song but a new one in general, taking the vocal lines and placing rewritten trance/electronica music underneath. It could’ve REALLY fallen flat on its face, but it thankfully didn’t.
And now, the second disc/DVD (“Venus Diversa”). The video for “Lilith Immaculate” is a decent entry into the realm of music videodom, and while Cradle of Filth’s videos in the past had flirted more with ridiculous ideas and skits rather than showing the band actually playing the damn song, this isn’t too bad, despite only Dani and drummer Marthus showing the most energetic performances of the sextet. Even the cinematic cutaways were more minimalistic, focusing more on the music than telling some silly story. Next up is “You Can’t Polish a Turd…”, a recorded behind-the-scenes showcase of the band during their recent bout of festival touring. While they apparently cut out the choice bits to put into this video, this really isn’t a silly romp into immaturity ala the “Sifting Through Filth” segment off “Heavy, Left-Handed and Candid” and instead paints the vapid picture of a musical act going through the hustle and bustle of being on the road. It had its fair share of good clips and performances, but as a whole it was kinda hollow and a bit sad on my end. Lastly…as a live entity, CoF are usually very good, even when the theatrics border on over-saturation, and for their appearance at Graspop, their hour-long set was indeed worth watching. Despite Dani prattling on longer than he should at times, a rather boilerplate set list and a somewhat sloppy performance complete with bouts of feedback and a few fuck-ups in their performance, the band were the focal point to this particular concert, eschewing much in the traveling carnival of horrors appeal they’ve made their bread and butter for so long. Still, they remain one of the more entertaining live acts to be pissing about on stage and it would’ve been a good time to have been there myself.
In the end, “Evermore Darkly…” has some tasty moments placed amidst less than stellar and unnecessary parts, and I’d hate to say it, but this is best left only for the moderate-to-die-hard fans of the group. The wishy-washy types and casual listeners might want something with more of a real structure and meat on its bones. But I liked it, at least.
Originally written for The Offering
Evermore Darkly might not be the first of Cradle's filler EPs, but it's probably the most substantial, packing a bonus DVD that includes a video documentary, their live performance at the June 2011 Graspop festival in Belgium, and the incredibly cheesy video for the track "Lilith Immaculate" from last year's surprisingly tight full-length Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa. The live tracks are actually not so bad, as I've certainly heard worse from Dani's oft-ailing vocals that only rarely seem to sound as good as on the studio efforts, and they mix up present and past material rather well. On the other hand, the official video is a testament to awful Gothic metal vanity, and not worth bleeding your eyes out to experience...but then...this is the problem with about 90% of metal videos. I'm always amazed that a band like CoF can put so much effort into lyrics and concepts but then shit out videos which look like overblown fetish lingerie commercials.
Anyway, of far more importance to the Cradle of Filth fan will be the first disc in this set, upon which the Brits ply their trade with a selection of 'remixed' or extended album tracks and a few unreleased pieces. "Lilith Immaculate" gets blown out to beyond 8 minutes, 2 more than the full-length version, and frankly the added bits of orchestration aren't all that necessary. The more rock driven "Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned)" is given two alternates: one, the 'Elder' version mix, and the other a pretty cheesy techno-trance rendition. While I've no opposition to snarls or growls over dance music or industrial (have dabbled in it myself), the mix of Dani and Caroline here seems only to detract from what might be half-decent generic club electro, glow stix not included. There are more of the 'Elder' versions for the tracks "The Persecution Song" and "The Spawn of Love and War", but while these aren't necessarily bad, the differences are just so inconsequential that they feel like their job is simply to fill space...
Of the non-album material, there's a sampled monologue intro piece called "Transmission to Hell" which relates the tale of some fell Siberian mining expedition, but the interjections of 'hell' into the narrative render it silly rather than spooky. Then there's "Thank Your Lucky Scars", a pretty straight shot of black metal for Cradle of Filth which has a lot more driving orchestral melodies and tremolo riffs than they generally use (think back to Dusk and Her Embrace), but still breaks into a groove. Lastly, there is the orchestral/instrumental version of "Summer Dying Fast" from way back on The Principles of Evil Made Flesh. This is perhaps the most interesting single track on this release, if only because the other good songs are already better received on the recent full-length, and this 'Midnight in the Labyrinth Breadcrumb Trail' mix at least makes for passable, corny Halloween music...
Sadly, there's just not enough here that I'd recommend to anyone who isn't already a serious fan of the band, and who would be interested in the various tweaks and takes that they've decided to sell you. Do you really need or want remakes of this material? Similar to their 2001 album Bitter Suites to Succubi, which featured some similar revisits, my answer to this is no. It's not short on content, I'll grant them that. The live set is cool, the cover art classy perhaps, but in the end, the carrots at the end of this stick are spotty at best, and if the band's not dishing out a cool concept album like Cruelty and the Beast or Midian, I couldn't care less.