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Cradle of Filth lost me with Thornography. This is not a unique statement, as I was one of the many fans of England's most prolific extreme metal act to have basically wrung his hands of the band's modern work upon hearing that record. It's not that Thornography was an awful album, far from it, but that it was the ultimate representation of what the band had become upon the commencement of their "major label era" with Damnation and a Day; a mediocre, plodding, not particularly creative or fun anymore slice of extreme gothic metal with the occasional blackened flourishes. The aforementioned Damnation was so milquetoast and uninteresting that it seems the band itself have forgotten its existence, and the followup Nymphetamine, despite being the band's breakthrough into the mainstream and a considerably better record than its predecessor, wasn't particularly compelling either, containing only a few tracks of note and a whole lot of nothing. Thornography, although boasting one of the band's underrated great tracks in "Dirge Inferno", was the final nail in the vampire's coffin, seemingly turning fans away for good, convinced the band would never regain their former glory. While it doesn't totally measure up to the likes of Dusk...and Her Embrace or Midian, Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder is absolutely a return to form for Cradle of Filth, who fused their modern, more streamlined sensibilities with the savage symphonic black metal of yesteryear.
The constant debate concerning Cradle of Filth (aside from "Does this band suck or do they REALLY suck?") is whether or not they can be considered a black metal band. For my money, anyone that denies the obvious black metal foundation of their 90s material and Midian is either ignorant, lying to look cool, or trying to pull the same nonsense revisionism that Metallica's first four records tend to get; "Oh, it's not REALLY thrash metal because The Black Album!". Shove off. I will admit that Cradle of Filth's musical balance between black metal and everything else in their sound, from gothic to traditional to even some thrash metal elements, weighed much more towards the latter side throughout the dark period that was Damnation through Thornography, but on Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder, the band jump back towards the blackened majesty of their 90s material with a force. From the moment the opener "Shat Out of Hell" bursts through with machine gun blast beats and the most evil riffs the band has written in upwards of a decade, it becomes readily apparent that this is not the same band as they were for the five years prior, and that's undoubtedly for the better. It's not an exact throwback to the glory days of Dusk... and Cruelty and the Beast however, with many of the signature elements from that period of the band's history, such as Iron Maiden-esq twin guitar harmonies and constant tempo & meter shifts, mostly missing, in favor of a more streamlined, melodic feel that never really deviates throughout the albums behemoth 71 minute run time. The only real shifts from the pummeling come in the form of the requisite "music video" song "The Death of Love", which could act as something of a sister song to the title track from Nymphetamine, and "Ten Leagues Beneath Contempt", which in all my years of listening to this album is the only one of the 13 songs on here that never held my interest.
One major plus the album has going for it is the balance between guitars and keyboards. Too often a band will sway too far towards pushing one instrument over another, leading to the dilemmas of either the guitars being so prominent that the keys are a non-issue, or the keyboards overpower the guitars to the point of consuming the music, be it through a deliberate musical choice such as Dimmu Borgir's Abrahadabra, or just through a bad mix job like on the successor to Godspeed... in Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa. With Godspeed..., the guitars are definitely the focal point of the record, but the keys and synths still do enough to warrant a prominent place in the album's musical architecture. Never once do they swallow the guitars whole, nor are they rendered impotent through a combination of inactivity and lack of prominence. They shine where they're needed, but are primarily a background element. That is, aside from the incessant, often overly long orchestral intros and outros to the majority of the tracks here. These cadences and codettas are a major contributor to the album's bulky running time, and for the most part none of them are really necessary, which is a shame since they aren't badly composed or anything, just inessential. At least the standalone synth tracks like "Tiffauges" and "In Grandeur and Frankincense Devilment Stirs" are nice to listen to on their own. The one-two punch of "Midnight Shadows Crawl to Darken Counsel With Life" (Long enough title, guys?) and "Darkness Incarnate", while mostly damn good songs in their own right, were probably not the best cuts to place next to each other, especially with songs of considerably shorter length bookending the both of them. The length of the album, while not an experience killer, doesn't really do the album too many favors, especially when the band has made better records that were upwards of 20 minutes shorter than this one. It's not a particularly brisk listen, which is something of a must for a concept record as Godspeed... is, although the songs almost universally stand up on their own merits when heard individually.
When it comes to the individual member performances, one thing nobody can ever fault the band for is that they have some excellent musicians in the fold, and this has not changed one bit here. Having downsized from their typical six-to-seven person lineup to a mere four piece, a first for Cradle of Filth, the band does not sound any less competent with lineup no. 48 as they did back in 1996 with lineup no. 14. The stars of the album are Paul Allender and new recruit Martin Skaroupka, with both delivering a performance for the ages on their respective instruments. Allender's riffs cut with razor precision and accuracy, and the few opportunities he gets to showcase his lead guitar abilities on Godspeed... indicate that he's a very competent soloist as well. Skaroupka, possibly better known by his pseudonym "Marthus", rivals Nicholas Barker's triumphs on the early records with one of the best debut performances you will ever hear from an extreme metal drummer. As good a guitarist as Paul Allender is, Skaroupka is just as excellent on drums, and he hadn't yet descended into the depths of overplaying that plague his performances on The Manticore (and Other Horrors) and, to a far lesser extent, Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa. Dave Pybus is a functional bassist, plucking away to the rhythm guitars as any bass player is want to do, and he even gets a couple moments to shine on his own, just as Robin Graves did on the 90s records. Dani Filth is so remarkably improved from his dreadful performance on Thornography that it really needs to be heard to be believed, for while he doesn't quite reach the level he did on a record like Dusk...and Her Embrace, he doesn't sound like a wheezing cat anymore, and he sounds the best he has in years. His lyrics, as always, are magnificent, which is another area detractors of the band cannot take away from them. I'm particularly fond of "Honey and Sulphur" and "Midnight Shadows..." for my favorite lyrics on the record, both featuring rather interesting wordplay and painting imagery that perfectly shows the dingy, medieval landscapes that Gilles de Rais raped and murdered in. Glorious, I say!
It's fairly crazy to consider that only two years prior to Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder, Cradle of Filth had released the single lamest record in their whole discography with Thornography. As mentioned earlier, that album's progression of the less-than-worth-it extreme gothic metal nonsense of Nymphetamine, only without most of that album's sometimes good songwriting, while not an out and out failure, seemingly shut the door on them ever making a quality record again. Two years and one new drummer later, Cradle of Filth silenced all the naysayers and detractors with the best record they had made since Midian, which itself is second only to Dusk...and Her Embrace for the band's overall crowning achievement. Unique in their modern discography for its seamless blend of riffs and atmosphere, as opposed to the poorly mixed yet still really enjoyable Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa and the riff monster that is The Manticore (and Other Horrors), Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder presents a streamlined version of what made the band's early material so great: extremely aggressive symphonic black metal with overwhelmingly gothic overtones and a heightened sense of melody you just plain don't get from a lot of other black metal bands. It set the band back on the right track for what seems like good this time, and they haven't looked back at the falters and missteps of the previous decade since.
Cradle of Filth have always received an unwarranted amount of loathing from the metal underground, in particular the black metal scene. Yet they have never swerved from their direction of creating interesting, often conceptual albums in a hybrid of black and goth, with a death metal undercurrent and thoughtful lyrics rooted deeply in classic British poetry and prose. The problem is of course they've made some money doing it and scored a lot of the goth chicks, and we all know that's not acceptable. This has never nulled my enjoyment of several of their albums: The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, Cruelty and the Beast, and Midian all come to mind as noteworthy efforts.
Like Cruelty and the Beast or Midian before it, this is a concept album focusing on a fascinating historical figure, in this case the French noble Gilles de Rais. Rais fought with Joan of Arc but became controversial later in life as a occultist, prolific serial killer and all-around pervert. So, in other words, the perfect subject for Dani Filth's lyrical adventures. And he is once again up to the task.
Musically, the album is reminiscent of the earlier works such as Dusk and Her Embrace, anchored in brutal blast beats and fast, vampiric guitar work all adorned in Filth's dripping, ghastly multi-layered vocals. Some of my favored tracks here are the slower "Ten Leagues Beneath Contempt" with its glorious melodies; the bombastic "Honey and Sulphur" with its thrashing symphonic, choral misanthropy; and the monstrously catchy "Midnight Shadows Crawl to Darken". The mix of the album is solid, each orchestral touch is distinct and never befuddles the core metal elements.
This is a far better album than the rather lacking past few efforts Thornography and Nymphetamine, and likely on par with Dusk...and Her Embrace as one of their better overall works (slightly less catchy though). It's got an interesting subject at its focus, who you don't read or hear about all the time. It's pure Cradle of Filth, and love them or not, they are good at what they do, and they are here to stay.
Cradle of Filth (COF) have come a long way since they first formed in the United Kingdom back in 1991. Originally, they started out playing death metal. Then, they have evolved into a gothic metal group and at present are playing extreme gothic metal with some hints of black metal influence. Dani Filth is the only original member left. The full actual title of this new release is "Godspeed On The Devil's Thunder -- The Life and Crimes of Gilles De Rais." It is a concept album researched and written by COF's vocalist.
The songs fit into the genre of extreme gothic metal and symphonic black metal. These categories are newer to the band. Their present style seems to fit well within these particular types of metal. There aren't too many bands that play this genre (extreme gothic metal). Cradle of Filth does a good job with properly executing it.
Sound-wise, it has some aspects of their previous release back in 1996 which is 'Dusk...And Her Embrace.' Dani's vocal outputs aren't as high-pitched as they were back then. There's a mixture on this album of high end vocals along side hoarse throat. Guitar by Paul Allender is superb. There were very catchy rhythms and leads demonstrated. No doubt this release outdoes their previous one which is entitled 'Thornography' (2006).
Many guest vocalists are featured, even Dani Filth's daughter on a few tracks. The other female vocalists are incredible especially on the song "The Death Of Love." Also, Doug Bradly as narrator gave the album an eerie sound to it. Keyboards by Mark Newby-Robson put Cradle of Filth into a more symphonic aura. It is thoroughly enjoyed this entire cast.
In terms of the words, there was a great display of intelligent lyricism. Reading through the lyrical content is very challenging because of the topic chosen. Surely it took a lot of research to touch on this 15th century serial killer, sexual deviant and Satanist Gilles De Rais. This album has no cover songs on it. All of the music is newly composed by the band as a whole. The limited edition digipack contains 10 bonus tracks.
The overall performance by the band puts it into one of Cradle of Filth's finest works. 'Dusk...And Her Embrace' is their reigning release. However, 'Midian' (2000) and their prior 'Thornography' (2006) are also great outputs. Favorite tracks on their latest include "Shat Out of Hell", "The Death of Love", and "Sweetest Maleficia."
I was worried when Cradle of Filth unveiled a song from this album ("Tragic Kingdom"). I can't speak positively of that song, it was predictable and the writing wasn't impressive, also the opening riff seemed to have been stolen from Absolutus' "The Scale of Nothingness".
However, when I listened to the entire album, I was much consoled. "Tragic Kingdom" and "Shat Out of Hell" were probably the worst songs on the album, but the rest made up for them. Unlike the previous release, Thornography, this album was composed of a nice variety of moods and dynamics.
Looking at the music individually, I was immediately impressed by the new drummer. I liked Adrian Erlandsson but not nearly as much as Nicholas Barker, and Marthus plays much more like Barker did, but of course in his own unique style. Depending on his future work, he may be my favorite CoF drummer of all. The riffs on this album were at least as good as those on Nymphetamine, some being quite memorable, and the bass was very powerful in some places just as it was back in the days of Robin Graves. I wasn't terribly impressed with the keyboards, but I think that will change now that the girl from Abigail Williams is joining them. The vocals... I wasn't expecting much out of Dani's tattered vocal cords, but it was actually a much better performance than Thornography, and he didn't try to sing. I was also very satisfied with the production, especially of the drums which sound very full and alive in contrast to the drum production of their earlier work.
I only have a few problems with the album, the biggest of which being song structures. This is what first threw me off about the album, it is so ridiculously predictable. Every song pretty much has verses and choruses; anyone who has listened to Cruelty and the Beast knows that they can do better. They once put so much thought into their structures, but the repetitive composition on their new work gives it a really mainstream feel at the end of the day. It also didn't help that Dani insisted on screaming the title of the song in nearly every song.
As a concept album, I feel it is successful. The changing moods of the songs followed the story or Gilles de Rais. It in no way compared to Cruelty and the Beast's portrayal of Elizabeth Bathory, but de Rais's story was a good one for CoF to work with, and they did a good job. At times, however, I felt the storytelling was much too straightforward. Where on Cruelty... everything would be metaphors and allusions to Lovecraft, on Godspeed... he comes out and says what he means too much.
My favorite track is probably "The Death of Love". This was a welcome change after the hard-hitting "Shat Out of Hell"; instead it is a slow and melodic song featuring the only notable female vocals on the album. The riffs in this song are very memorable just like the ones they used to turn out on a daily basis, and the backup vocals are very well written and executed. The song is still structured the same way as the others but it actually worked in this context.
Also worth mentioning are the longer tracks on the album, "Midnight Shadows Crawl to Darken Counsel With Life" and "Darkness Incarnate". These two will be the most satisfying to long time Cradle fans, they bring back that dark and intense feeling. I can't tell you they sound like Midian or anything, but they are good songs. The track following these, "Ten Leagues Beneath Contempt", is also quite good.
Finally I believe 13 tracks are too many for a concept album. It could definitely have done without "Tragic Kingdom" as it basically says the same thing as "The 13th Caesar".
The album is certainly a refreshing change of pace and a step in the right direction, fans of their classics or their new albums may both enjoy this release, as will fans of serial killers.
After the other shoe dropped in the form of "Thornography", it was pretty evident the shit was hitting the fan. CRADLE OF FILTH, considered crown princes of the metal world by the underground elite, had hit a creative nadir so intense even mere interest with the band began to sway. Even long-time fans were starting to grow more and more disillusioned, akin to life-long sports fans watching their favourite team going through one hell of a losing streak. For most, "Nymphetamine" was the first few nails in the the coffin (rather unfairly, I might add), and "Thornography" was the killing blow to any shred of credibility. Even I found myself less interested in the band, and the threat of a new album a few years later only mildly sparked my curiousity. After all, what could POSSIBLY come after this less-than-masterwork?
What would come would be the best album CRADLE OF FILTH has done in years.
When it was first advertised as sounding like a "mixture between Dusk...and Midian" I was skeptical...after all, such bold claims were made with some of the bonus "Thornography" tracks, and they proved to be fruitless ("Devil to the Metal" sounding like something off "Vempire..."??? Not a chance). But once I was able to crack open the disc and devour its contents I was wholly floored. This is, for the first time in years, some of CRADLE"s finest, sharpest, angriest, and most epic work. It helps prove that the band is at their best at the behest of a concept album, as most, if not all of them, have served up plentiful platters of metallic tastiness ("Cruelty and the Beast", most of "Midian" and "Damnation and a Day", for example), this being no exception, as a story about the Gilles de Rais seems to fit the band's style and image quite nicely. Gone are some of the days where the guitar was the first and foremost instrument, and more emphasis was given the symphonic elements that were sadly lacking in previous recordings. And when the band, as a whole, come together musically they fire on all cylinders in their heaviest and, yes, most "black" material; guitars running the gauntlets of speedy heaviness and cavernous slowness but with a modernized touch ala "Nymphetamine, percussive madness and blast-beats aplenty from new drummer"Marthus" (who does NOT disappoint), dark and dreary keyboards weaving a tapesty of Dantean Hell akin to some of "Dusk...and Her Embrace"'s more epic songs, and Mr. Filth even performing some above-average shrieking (it's quite obvious these days that his voice isn't what it used to be, but it's still good and can keep him going for years to come) delivering some sick and obscurely twisted lyrics, some of his most controversial, with fluidity and nary a sense of displeasure. Speedy tracks like "Shat out of Hell", "Sweetest Maleficia" "Honey and Sulpher", and the title track beat the listener into gore-ridden submission,but relief is at hand with the dirgey "The Death of Love", the more-soothing-than-chaotic "Midnight Shadows Crawl to Darken Counsel with Life" and the breather track "Ten Leagues Beneath Contempt". All in all, a meatier entree has yet to surface.
So in the end, this is a refreshing take on CRADLE OF FILTH's tried-and-true musical formula that cators to all known forms of fandom. Such big shoes to fill when the band get together to hearken a new release, but hope is re-ignited that they can once again hit it out of the park.
...Well, pretty much everything before this. I've heard some of their albums before this and I hated them. This is however different to many of their previous albums. Most of them average around the 60s; this album was in the low 80s before I reviewed it, coincidence? I don't think so...
Everything I hated about this band has pretty much been improved or removed. As a result, I actually though this album was OK, even good in some parts. It's almost as if they've been reading some reviews and taken note of the complaints.
My number one complaint about this band is the vocals. OK, the vocal performance is a lot better now. Dani is still a pretty shit vocalist but his vocal performance is a lot better than it was. Usually I can look past band vocalists but there is a limit to how much I can take. So usually his voice is high pitched, performed without any passion and annoying as hell. This time, it isn't so high pitched. Sometimes, he uses a growling vocal style similar to what can be found on some death metal albums.
From memory, female vocals only appear on one track which is "The Death of Love." They are performed by Sarah Ferridge, she has a pretty nice voice and I like her vocal performance on here. It's much better than having female vocals appearing on every (or almost every track). I like the spoken narration. Doug Bradley has a pretty good speaking voice, his voice suits the part. I thought the child vocals would annoy me but it didn't.
The guitar riffs are pretty good and enjoyable on this album. As opposed to previous albums where they could be quite bland an unenjoyable. There are even a few solos to be found here. (ed note: I think the band ripped off a riff from Limbonic Art, the intro to Shat out of Hell sounds very similar to the riff which is found on Limbonic Art's Epitome of Illusions.) The drums are OK, nothing overly impressive but it gets the job done.
The synths on this album are pretty nice sometimes; other times as on previous albums the synths can be pretty cheesy sometimes. The intro, In Grandeur And Frankincense Devilment Stirs is an example of this. But it's never lolgay cheesy like The Graveyard by Moonlight.
Like all CoF albums, this album is simply too long. Pretty much everything post Damnation and a Day, this band has been releasing albums which overstay their welcome. If this album had been 10 minutes shorter, it would have been much better. Removing, the intro, Tiffauges and Corpseflower would have made the album shorter. They could have even combined these songs with other songs so not to lose any of the plot. Some songs on this album are also pretty bland and as I've already stated some synths are pretty cheesy. That's all the problems I have with this.
Overall, this is not a bad album. I never thought it would happen, but CoF have released a decent album which is worth a listen once in a while. CoF fans will almost certainly love this and haters of the band might find some value in it (as I have).
Conclusion: The above is recommended for download or purchase
Cradle of Filth is a band that every metalhead has heard of. They are a band that is really hard to miss in the metal world and people all over the world have mixed opinions about the band. Most people who have heard Cradle of Filth's music usually either love them or hate them. The latter being the more common response, at least with their newer albums. A lot of people say that they've abandoned their sound and their roots over the years, more commonly known as selling out. While it is true that they have changed their sound, they haven't sold out at all. They simply don't want to release the same album over and over until the end of their careers. Like I said earlier, you either love them or hate them and obviously by the way I'm rating this review I am someone who loves this band. Everything they have done has impressed me in one way or another and their most recent album, Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder, is no different.
Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder is a concept album similar to the theme from Cruelty and the Beast. While that was about 15th century blood countess Elizabeth Bathory, this is about a French serial killer named Gilles de Rais. Before he became a satanist and a serial killer, he fought alongside Joan of Arc and became an extremely wealthy man. Gilles de Rais is portrayed by Doug Bradley aka Pinhead on this album.
This album starts off in true Cradle of Filth fashion with an instrumental that is about two and a half minutes long. After the instrumental it leads into the first real song, Shat Out of Hell. This is where the album actually begins. The first thing that I noticed about this album is that the keyboards are used a whole lot more than they were on the previous album Thornography. This of course is a good thing because keyboards have always dominated Cradle of Filth's music and made it what it was. Another thing that is present on this album that wasn't on Thornography is the use of blast beats. New drummer Martin is the second best drummer that this band has ever had. Nick Barker is, of course, the best. However, this is only Martin's first album with the band. He could easily be the band's best drummer by the time he's through. Anyways, this guy is just relentless. With as fast as Martin plays, he could easily fit in with any death metal band.
The guitarists on this album are long time member Paul Allender and Charles Hedger. They compliment each other very well. They are the best combination of guitarists Cradle has had since Gian and Stuart. There are many different influences in the riffs on this album. You have the main black metal influence, but they also use riffs ranging from melo-death to thrash. Another style that is utilized here is the use of tremolo picking, which is very common in black metal. Tremolo picking is used in this album much more than it has been used on the past couple of albums. Cradle of Filth really start to borrow influences from their early albums. Bass on this album is surprisingly very audible. Especially on the tenth track Darkness Incarnate. I never knew how talented Dave really was until this album. Not better than Robin Eaglestone was, but still gets the job done.
That brings me to Dani Filth's vocals. He really hasn't been himself on the past three or so albums, but he seems to come back to form on this album. His vocals were completely shot on Thornography, but on Godspeed he finally has his shriek back. Keep in mind that it's nowhere near as high pitched as it was on albums like Vempire and Dusk and Her Embrace, but still much better then it has been. Dani also writes some of his best lyrics since Midian. Unlike Thornography's lyrics, the lyrics on this album are much more serious. All of the lyrics on Thornography were somewhat comical. Not on this album. Dani focuses on telling the story of Gilles de Rais without the tongue and cheek mindset and the album is better because of that.
Overall, this is the best post-Midian era Cradle of Filth album. While it is nowhere near as good as albums like The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, Vempire, Dusk and Her Embrace, or Cruelty and the Beast, its still a great album and it shouldn't be compared to those album. This should be listened to for what it is, a great modern black metal album.
Shat Out of Hell
The Death of Love
The 13th Caesar
Honey and Sulphur
Cradle have come under much criticism lately, Thornography was shunned due to lack of gothic melodies and an increased focus on the guitar work, while Nymphetamine was the opposite. Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder thankfully is a mixture of both, it showcases Paul Allender's amazing guitar work (see Tragic Kingdom) and grandoise gothic melodies (The Death of Love).
Lyrically Cradle go back to the winning formula of concept albums based on serial killers, this time the topic is that of Gilles de Rais, a French nobleman, warrior and one time lover of Joan of Arch. Dani Filth as ever brings his dark poetry to the table with the intent of spewing forth a story of woe, death, murder and the occult. Not only are Dani's lyrics up to scratch but he also gives the vocal performance of a lifetime, from low death grunts to King Diamond-esque shrieks placing him as one of extreme metal's finest vocalists ever.
Godspeed also shows a return to the heavy for Cradle that they have lacked recently, new stickman Martin "Marthus" Škaroupka in my opinion is the greatest drummer Cradle have ever had, the evidence is clear, from opening salvo of the brilliantly titled "Shat Out of Hell" to the blasting of the title track, Cradle have compiled a set of songs heavier than they have ever done, a complete album all in all. In other words the ultimate metal package.
It is then my hope that people will stop holding onto the fact Cradle are not black metal and just enjoy this purely excellent slab of extreme metal for what it is.
Recommended tracks; Shat Out of Hell, The Death of Love, Tragic Kingdom and Midnight Shadows Crawl to Darken Counsel with Life, although the whole album is excellent these tracks really stood out more than others.
Band’s can become too comfortable doing what works. I remember the previous Cradle of Filth effort to combine a lot of elements of modern metal in minute ways. Looking back, it wasn’t quite progressing from what the band does normally.
If you’re familiar with Cradle of Filth, you’d likely be familiar with double bass rolling switching up to one-two beats, power chords that are somewhere between hold ‘em down and move ‘em around, and an array of synthesizers emulating orchestras that are just one notch below the best orchestral aping you can get. The end effect gets pretty darn close to an orchestra, but just fake enough to remind you that it’s still a little hokey. Tie that up with narrated and orchestrated intros, Dani Filth’s signature spoken word wide-ranged, harmonized harsh vocals, a song with female operatic singing in a slightly loose package, and for the most part, you’ve got the large majority of Cradle of Filth albums summed up, which happens to be the exact problem.
Apart from not solving certain problems that previous Cradle of Filth albums have had (they had a real orchestra on “Damnation and a Day”, so why real a real choir, but a fake orchestra this time?) and the generally loose playing that only gets worse when Dani’s spoken word style gets a little off-rhythm (and a little out of time).
It’s to the point where the songs lack identity, anything resembling a hook, and tend to blur into one another. You’ve heard this Cradle of Filth album at least three times before.
Originally posted at www.waytooloud.com
Somewhere along the way Cradle of Filth seemed to lose the plot and Dani Filth’s head went very far up his own ass. Middian and Damnation and A Day left me feeling quite indifferent and 2006s Thornography was complete crap.
So this year sees the band release its ninth full length album in the form of Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder. Pre-release reports suggested that this was going to be a return to the Cruelty and the Beast Sound and the usual pre-release hype and statements from Mr. Filth. Well, probably for the first time this year, a band has managed to actually live up to the hype. Godspeed is a bit of a return to the old style. The album is cloaked in the gothic romanticism that made those first few albums so enjoyable. It also has a fair bit of the modern sound from Thornography though, so be warned. The black metal aspect is limited to Dani’s usual croaking vocal style but here too the man is not averse to trying his hand at a bit of growling and changing things around.
Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder also benefits from a surprisingly warm and organic sounding production job courtesy Andy Sneap. The sound manages to convey the atmosphere and allows each instrument enough room to be heard. Stand out tracks include the melodic The Death of Love with long time collaborator Sarah Jezebel Deva handling female vocals, Honey and Sulphur makes use of an epic sounding choir to good effect, the title song starts off like the old CoF before going in a thrash direction and Ten Leagues Beneath Contempt is an enjoyable goth metal song.
Dani Filth has had to deal with numerous line-up changes in the recent past and I guess the cohesion and focus of these songs is simply testament to the fact that CoF is pretty much a Dani Filth project now. The songs on the album should please both, fans of the old and the new and Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder is by far the best album by the band in a long while and has turned out to be a very pleasant surprise for me.
Originally written for http://www.kvltsite.com
When I saw that this album came out, I thought "oh no, are these guys still at it...".
It is easy for anyone to let prejudice get in the way of how they view something. Try and let it go and give this album a listen to a few times around - whether you love this band or hate this band. I myself used to love this band for albums such as 'Dusk... and Her Embrace' and 'Cruelty and the Beast'. I did not hate all later albums; I appreciated them for what they were and not for what they were not. To be honest, listening to Cradle of Filth became a guilty pleasure, because it was embarassing to see the Cradle praised so highly by every moron in a goth dress-code. I wanted nothing to do with those people, and I never will. I can imagine I'm not the only one who feels like this, so I ask you all to let all prejudgements go and take this album for what it is. What it is, to say the least, is fucking great! Speaking with some prejudice though - it's a fucking SURPRISE!
This album is a bit of a ressurection - the Cradle sound is still there - it's the same style, but it's just much better than anything they've done in the past. It's like the band started in one direction, changed course to see what else is out there, and finally decided that the original direction that they were going was the best for them. You should not really hate musicians for wanting to try new things - I myself am always exploring new ways to grow. This album is very similar to their old albums but it's not an absolute return. Dani has, in my opinion, finally perfected his vocal style. His shrieks, love them or hate them, could not be better and he does not overuse them as he has done so in the past, which used to get on my nerves at times. BUT - if you hated Cradle because you cannot stand Dani's vocals overall, you will probably find reasons to hate everything else about this album.
Their current drummer suits this band perfectly, similar to Nick Barker, as another reviewer already stated. But Nick Barker's sound on Cruelty and the Beast was absolute garbage - this is what it SHOULD have sounded like. The guitar riffs should remind you of what was on that album as well. One thing though, I think this album really compares with Damnation and a Day (which I actually thought was a great album with great ideas and awesome production). I'm not too into the whole tr00 sound by the way - I like to hear decent production and well executed ideas.
One thing I wish they would not do is make cover art that looks like this. Sorry but it's just fucking stupid. I wouldn't take points off for it, because I guess they like it, which is what matters, really. I just hate it and think it cheapened a really great "comeback" if you want to call it that.
The Doug Bradley parts on most tracks can get a bit annoying if you forget that it is supposed to be a concept albums. Dani is a great and witty lyricist and I think he only really shines when it comes to concept albums.
Give it a chance. Seriously. You might be surprised.
I have acquired the latest opus from Cradle of Filth - Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder, with anticipation and apprehension. Anticipation because Dani and Paul had revealed that the album would sound like their older songs from Dusk and her Embrace to Midian, that is a very bold thing to declare, knowing how mighty are songs of their from that era. So I'd really hope that at least this new album would provide some respite from the terror that Thornography had spewed out in 2006 and instil some reborn hopes for this filthy crew. Apprehension is the part that I fear that the vestige of Thornography would re-appear in this album and that Dani's lyric work would be laborious and the general lack of inspiration lyrically and in terms of the lyric booklet design and captions therein.
Anticipation and apprehension aside, I give the disc around 5 listens back to back, looking for little details and sparks of auditory genius. I got to say that tracks like "Shat out of Hell", "Tragic Kingdom", "Honey and Sulphur", "Sweet Maleficia" and "Midnight Shadows Crawl to Counsel..." sounded like the vestiges of Dusk and Her Embrace and Cruelty and the Beast combined, minus the lyrical genius that Dani used to express so well in his younger ages.
Tracks like "Darkness Incarnate" and the title-track - "Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder" are the ones that caught my attention as they had the sheer searing amount of dazzling, blinding energy that I used to so relish in their songs, like "Queen of Winter Throned", "I Thank God for The Suffering", "Tortured Soul Asylum" or "Amor E Morte" and the likes of the gems in their younger years. Though they possess the escalating amount of energy, it is never enough to match up to the predecessors, for currently, somehow, the album lacks a certain something, which I have yet to decipher. Maybe it's the energy of the youth, that passionate impulse. Trying to recapture that when one is nearing midlife certainly isn't an easy task. I got to give them credits for the job though, to build up a conceptual album and trying their best again, for the filthy fans. The title-track had elements from Cruelty and The Beast and Midian, too.
One thing I absolutely loathe about this album is the excessive use of the oral narration by Pinhead Doug Bradley, I mean, "Come on, I have ears to discern the atmosphere of the music, I do not need a damn e-book over here." Once or twice is enough, but for almost every track? =| Maybe Dani likes Doug Bradley alot. I also think that the new female vocalist should not be there, why take the trouble to replace when Sarah Jezebel is doing such an awesome job? I do not get it. One more point, the lyric booklet artwork is fucking ridiculous, that even I have no choice but to chide it. Those artwork are worthy for a damn children's colouring book. *stabs my eyes, then performs a hara kiri with a fish* Can't they just use their old artist who did Cruelty and the Beast or Dusk and her Embrace? Those could convey the decadent emotions so much better than the current one. =| I do not get it, again.
I also miss the band portrait in the lyric booklet with an almost signature-like caption for it, like what in Midian's - "Heaven's Mutant Children". I also miss the little thing they have in Cruelty and the Beast where each member of the band is introduced as a serial killer. I really like Nick Barker's description - "Gradually perfecting his art on various parts of the body over the years, this infamous skin-beater now thrashes his victim from head to toe until she is flayed alive; wearing her skin to dinner almost as an erotic afterthought." Not to forget Dani's description - "A renowned blasphemer, this libertine now goes as far as to deflower then crucify young virgins, leaving them to suffer the agonies of the damned as carrion for the ravens and other less picky nightcrawlers..." Just look at that, humour and creativity in a single go. In addition, Dani's lyric work now looks too laboured and tedious, they no longer possess the fluidity they used to have. I used to be able to feel the madness of the music and the content emanating from the lyrics itself... I guess I have to declare that nothing from them will never again reach the madness of their albums - Dusk and her Embrace to Midian. Let my memory rest in their better days, then. The Queen of Winter, Throned will forever be throned.
Thus I rate this 73 out of 100 virgins. Thank you, Cradle of Filth, for the better days and wresting out of the mess Thornography had incurred. It was very much appreciated.
When I sat down to take my first stroll through Cradle of Filth’s new offering, “Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder”, I really really wanted to like it. I really wanted them to return to an earlier period of their career. I wanted Cradle of Filth to show they still had some fucking chops. While, I didn’t necessarily get what I wanted, I did find that the album was good enough to keep me pleased.
One thing that I found peculiar about this album was that, while I hated the path that Cradle of Filth had been following after “Midian” up until “Thornography (the latter which I actually really disliked), I felt “Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder” is actually still following that same path. Perhaps “Thorography” suffered from having an idea for a sound, but just not knowing how to get there. Well, on this album, they get there. More than anything else, they just sound more focused. Now I don’t want to make it sound like this record is marvelous. It is not, in any way, one of their best album. This is not “Dusk… And her Embrace”; this is not “Cruelty and the Beast”; it’s not even “Midian”. However, it is better than “Thornography” and probably about as good as “Damnation and a Day”.
One of Cradle of Filth’s most argued aspect, is probably their genre. “Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder” is a boiling pot of influences. I hear traces of black metal, melodic death metal, thrash metal, and gothic metal. I don’t really feel like they focus too much on any genre so much as they take all those influences and mash them all into one massive Frankenstein-like genre. It’s an interesting sound nonetheless,
One of my favorite parts of the album was Dani’s vocals. Lots of people hate Dani’s vocals. I do not. While he has obviously lost a lot of his ability to shriek and scream (he’s getting older - it seems understandable, even if I don’t like it), at least here, he’s showing some heart. He shrieks more than he has in a long time. He may not sound as good as he has in the past, but he sounds good enough. I also liked that he gave up on singing (which I was pleasantly surprised with), as I didn’t find his clean vocals to be very good. More than anything else, Dani’s vocals are proof that he still wants to put out quality material, even if his detractors don’t think he is.
The guitars are more than interesting. That’s not to say that I love Paul Allender’s guitar work on this record, but his style is worth a listen. He goes from tremolo picking, to thrashy riffs, stuff resembling the Gothenburg sound, to some beautiful sounding leads - akin to some of their classic stuff. The guy is probably the true star of this record. He kept me so on my toes that I had to see what he would do next (like throwing in some semi-impressive solos - especially the one in “Tragic Kingdom”). I wouldn’t consider this album to be progressive, however, it does have a lot of changes, and I felt it necessary to mention that I didn’t think it was progressive (which it means that I may believe it to be on the fence).
The albums real downfall for me is its overuse of keyboards. This album is saturated in keyboards. Pretty much every song is dripping wet with keyboards. Not to mention that I didn’t really find the keyboards to be bringing anything to the table. A lot of the time they just played the same thing the guitars were playing. Overall, I found them to be very uninteresting. Also there was far too many keyboard driven interludes and instrumentals. I realize that Cradle of Filth was probably going for an opera type mood with the lyrical content. Honestly though, I felt all those keyboard passages were either distracting or flow-killing. Doug Bradley obviously has an amazing speaking voice, but even he couldn’t make me get passed those sections.
I don’t love this album. I do, however, like it a lot more than I would have expected. I figured Cradle of Filth were done. I was wrong. I know a lot of people are going to hate this album, and that’s fine. We can’t all like exactly all the same stuff ; that would be boring. However, it is nice to get some varying opinions of albums, and don’t anticipate a lot positive reviews. I would recommend this to Cradle of Filth fans who still got some enjoyment out of the “Midian” to “Nymphetamine” era. If you didn’t like those albums, this one probably won’t be any different for you. I wish “Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder” would have been “Cruelty and the Beast” II, but I’ll take the way it is. I’m just happy that I can still continue to love Cradle of Filth, and not think of them as a band that I used to love.
.. but not as far back as Nymphetamine or Thornography.
This is the first review I have written, btu I felt like I had to share my thoughts on this album. Cradle of Filth's big new release sort of crept up on me. I was aware that something was coming, but I only heard about it's release date a mere week before it hot the shelves.
I'm not going to give much of a song-by-song rundown because, frankly, all the songs seem to sound about the same. Old Cradle of Filth is much superior to the new Cradle, but I guess it was too much to hope that they would produce something as dark and wholesome as the old stuff, just because they said they would. Nevertheless, 'Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder' is a step back in the right direction, just not far enough of one.
-Now lets see, typical Cradle instrumental songs, those are okay.
-'Shat out of Hell' is a song that kind of stood out to me. After hearing Dani's screams in the first few lines, I thought that he almost had his good scream back (but he managed to disproved that over the course of the album). I'll give them credit for writing good music though, some of the riffs almost feel just a little bit like black metal if I dare say.
-Next was 'The Death of Love'.. here we see that Cradle is still wasting their talent with their new inferior sound. This 7-minute.. thing.. that made me want to turn off my speakers reminded me of their 'Temptation' cover shit-song. Well editing, I might add that songs like this and 'Temptation' make Cradle seem like weak fuckin' pussies. (Excuse the immature words, but it pisses me off to see so many sweet bands go so soft. Oh well.. still got Gorgoroth and Darkthrone (mostly) \,,/)
A couple more mediocre tracks and we come to 'Honey and Sulphur'. This track stood out to me as well, only because it reminded me of what Dimmu Borgir are doing these days. The little attempt at an epic feeling would have better served as a little attempt at making some truly macabre-sounding song such as off of Dusk or Cruelty. Ah how I miss the good old days when they didn't use whole orchestras.. and when they used 100+ gallons of blood in a music video shoot..
A few songs later brings us to the title track. This and 'Shat out of Hell' are the two songs that I might listen to for entertaining purposes. Nice little solo, some thrashy riffs, Dani plays around with his voice a little bit in a good way. Not many complaints here; could do without the bell clanging at the end though.
To sum up 'Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder':
It is an improvement over the last few albums, but certainly not what they keep promising to us. It is nice to see Paul soloing more these days though. Also, the lyrics in this album are darker and better represent the reputation Cradle used to have than the lyrics in the other recent albums. I'll give this album a 65%, because it seems like they are really trying, but it is almost as if they have forgotten how to write like they did in the past. 65% for effort, guys.
I don't think Cradle will ever give me what I'm hoping for again, so I'm just gonna pop in their demo tapes and reminisce while the dust collects on this disc.
When Cradle of Filth began talking about a new album, they promised it would be a return to the speed and grandeur of albums past and a departure from the rocky, rather disappointing last albums. It was time to wait and see whether or not they would make good.
The concept is very similar to the "Cruelty and the Beast" album, again about a medieval serial killer. The concept and the music are very tight. All the songs could stand alone but if one was inclined to scratch below the surface into the lyrics and artwork, a very well done layer is beneath. Dani's lyrics are his usual dark poetry with black humor and awful puns abound. His vocal performance is stronger than it has been lately, more growling and less shrieking but when he does bring out the high pitched screams it is fitting.
The guitar and bass are also very strong, much more so than in years past. Paul Allender has, at least for the time being, given up on his incessant Iron Maiden worship. The song structures break away from the usual rock-based "verse/chorus" formula the band started to fall into and bring back the narrative feel. The guitar solos are less common than in "Thornography" but when they come they are fun and fit the song.
Fans will most likely have to accept that the orchestra and keyboards for Cradle of Filth from this point on will be largely relegated to the background. There are definitely more keyboards than "Thornography" and it brings CoF back to the grandiose, epic sound that defined them. The whole package, together with the Doug Bradley narration, choirs and such, give the album a very haunting feel very suitable for the subject matter.
The drumming is quite superb. New drummer Martin reminds the old fans of the Nick Barker days. It is ferocious and really gives each song an extreme feeling. The drummer of any extreme metal band has to be up to par and Martin is certainly well above that.
Overall, this album is not "Dusk and Her Embrace" or "Cruelty and the Beast" but it is a very competent concept album that the newer fans will still enjoy and the older fans can at least appreciate.
Recommendations: The Death of Love, The 13th Caesar, Sweetest Maleficia, Darkness Incarnate