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I've never really listened to Cradle of Filth, they'd sold out before I was into metal, and the general consensus prior to me hearing the band was that were a bunch of pussies who were an insult to black metal, not that I'm a BM fan. Add photos around the internet, and the band hit my 'don't try out list'. Well, I got my first taste thanks to a local metal radio show, who were playing the songs 'Cemetery and Sundown' and 'I am the Thorn'. And to my surprise, I found both those songs great. Nothing like black metal, but quite cool, melodic rocky songs, and the vocals didn't sound so stupidly high as I had previously thought.
So now, with a full album in front of me, how has the album turned out? Unfortunately for CoF, they haven't got a new fan. Other than those two songs and maybe another pair, this album as a rule feels like a horrible mess, full of bad ideas and crappy lyrics. Most of the time the band does try to do that rock-based fun sound, but they tend to fail, with most of the riffs being boring. For the rest of the time they focus on terrible keyboard based stuff and fail at making a dark atmosphere.
The album starts off strong enough, Dirge Inferno is comparable to either of the previously mentioned songs, and Tonight in flames has a few fun riffs and some energy. However it's got a few "angry old woman" vocals on it. But overall it's not a terrible song.
However, after that there's only two or three songs to look forward to, as the songs get unlistenably awful, such as the nauseating Byronic Man. Which gives us lots of old woman screams, and set of boring riffs, keyboard based sections, bad melodies, and one of the worst choruses ever put onto CD. Libertina grim is average, "Thorn..." and "Cemetery..." are great, but other than that "Foetus of a New Day Kicking" is the only other song on the album worth listening to. Not just on an enjoyment level, every other song on the album is just unlistenable in their boring, gothic, drawn out-ness.
The guitar team of Paul Allender and Charles Hedgen don't exactly hit us with any real show of technicality or speed, but they do give us some effective catchy riffs at places, unfortunately half of the riffs suck. Supposedly there’s some solos on here too, but hell, I can't remember them. Adrian Erlandsson is pretty average on the drums, simply sitting in the background and keeps time, with pretty standard fills every now and then.
Dani Filth surprised me, he really doesn't sound as gay as he looks. For the main part he's got a decent enough scream, and he does the odd Death Growl quite competently. However, he's got a higher scream, which just sounds like an old woman screaming. Picture yourself a crazy old woman with 14 cats, who screams at passer-bys. That's pretty close to what Dani sounds like.
Production wise the album is quite good. There's no real bass sound, but the guitars are big and have a pretty nice sound to them. The keys and orchestral elements are pretty much in the background to the standard instruments which helps the album overall sound nice and metallic rather than overly gothic.
So, CoF haven't got a new fan, I'm not going to buy any of their other albums, but at the same time I'm not going to join in on the next big CoF insult fest I see. I recommend downloading I Am The Thorn, Cemetery and Sundown, Dirge Inferno, and The Foetus of a New Day Kicking. They're basically all that's worthwhile on here, and they are fun songs which are good to listen to, unfortunately very little of the rest of the album is passable, and for the reason doesn't even feel like filler, it's just plain bad. If the filler on this album were listenable, it'd be an ok album.