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I'm going to make this short and sweet, seeing as how this is simply an opinion anyways, and you can just listen to the album yourself! I was instantly turned off by their single Frost on Her Pillow, and almost wrote this album off entirely. I feel it's important for you to know that I've been and Cradle follower for quite some time, and while I feel they don't have any poor material, Nymphetamine and Thornography were the worst amongst masterpieces like Dusk, Cruelty, Damnation and the infamous Principle of Evil Made Flesh.
The drums are by far the most impressive thing about the album. Martin is a genius behind the drum kit, and his fills and foot work are extremely well written and prosecuted. I've been a drummer for 12 years, and the most important thing about playing is that you should only write what the song calls for. Martin does this in a way that most metal drummers don't. This album isn't riddled with blasts and double bass. The drums are tasteful and refreshing to most of the earlier COF albums.
The guitars on the other hand I feel weren't as up to par as they could have been. Yet still impressive, I feel Paul writing the album solo could have had an impact. I feel the best part about the guitars were the fat, chordy verses and almost punk influenced riffing. The song structure is also a refreshment. It's not necessarily something that I'd like to hear all the time from the band, but definitely worked out to this albums advantage. The songs we're also much shorter than most of their earlier work. Don't get me wrong, I love the goth/black metal musical adventure that songs like Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids take you on, but these short and sweet songs genuinely kept my interest all the way through out.
Last but not least, Dani's vocals and lyrics. I can't even believe someone who's been in a band for over 20 years still has the ideas to keep writing. The lyrics aren't as tasteful as Damnation's, which may have been his best material to date, but can definitely hold their own amongst other Cradle albums. And finally his voice! How a 40 year old man can still have such a grewlish (for lack of a better word), multiple octave voice is outstanding. Needless to say, I was impressed.
I can't say too much about the orchestral ambiance, seeing as how it wasn't overly predominant through out the album. I guess it was a little mundane in some songs, but complimented others just fine. Overall, be a trooper and at least give this one a try. I don't love this album, in fact most life long fans probably won't, but you should find something about this album you like, even if it's not their best material.