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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