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Cradle has officially lost their way - 60%

MasterOfDissonance, December 6th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2008, CD, Roadrunner Records

I can't really say that this is a bad album, it's just one of those cases where quality components are joined together to form a subpar product. Cradle used to have very effective and prominent atmospheres, of the kind that made their presence known in a way you couldn't possibly ignore, and set the tone for a whole album. Somewhere around Nymphetamine, that effectiveness was lost, and what we are left with is a version of Cradle that is just a bunch of non-terrible, non-remarkable riffs, a sudden love for jumpy drum patterns and vocal delivery, all glued with a perfectly fine production, decorated with keyboards that seem to have been downgraded from the spotlight to a supporting role.

Listening to this album, I don't feel transported into a grand Gothic fantasy of the weird and macabre. I don't feel engulfed with atmosphere. I just hear Cradle doing jumpy riffs and being content with throwing some choir sounds here and there, and I'm bored. Somehow, none of the tracks have a clear feel beyond the general aesthetic of extreme metal that stumbled into some keyboards. Dani's vocal are still as good as they ever were (he seems to be the most consistent vocalist in the extreme metal genre), but I usually feel like he is narrating his poetry rather than expressing it, because there's no emotional adaptation to the lyrical content, it's just mostly the same rhythmic, fast-ish growl throughout most of the album.

Having listened to the album multiple times, nothing about it stands out. Strangely enough, I can't really call this album bad either, because it's not incompetently composed, and I can see why someone who doesn't care about atmosphere and doesn't know any better about the extreme metal genre might think this is a good album, but it's less than what Cralde used to be, and it's boring and unremarkable. 6/10.