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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.