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The boys are out for Halloween. - 77%

DSOfan97, March 7th, 2016

This album was released on Halloween (or one day before? - I cannot tell) and yet it is difficult to say whether this is a treat or a trick played by the band on their fans. This was not classic Cradle sound around its time of release and one can see why it is regarded as controversial. However after some listens it starts getting more and more enjoyable. As you might have assumed by now, this album is not without its flaws but as always, I'm willing to forgive those.

Merely two years had passed from their previous album (the two year space between albums is a staple for Cradle). That being said, they drastically changed their style, not for the better but it was still bearable. There are moments where old Cradle meets new Cradle, with excessive synth use and thunderous guitars, galloping bass and technical drumming. There also appears to be a concept behind this record but I am too afraid that the lascivious lyricism on which Dani excels, will devour the overall effort as if it was Cthulhu. So yeah, I'm not that eager to find about that right now.

The album also marks the return of Paul Allender in the ranks of the band. Some years ago I thought that was great (yay!) but now... not so much. I'm not quite sure that Paul was the band's savior. Actually if you think about it, it is Gian Pyres that was present in all Cradle's masterpieces apart from the debut. He is present here too and he saves the day. Before Cradle turned mellow pop they actually used to be black metal. So we'd really have to wonder how is it possible that one member which is not even the mastermind had such a massive impact on the final outcome. After this album Cradle started to sound like a bunch of old wrecks who try to revive their former glory. Unfortunately thinking out of the box was one of the virtues that couldn't find their place in the album. It is holding too tight on the same ideas and refuses to let go resulting in a somewhat boring 65 minute run.

It is not without any merit though and the truth must be spoken (okay the truth is always subjective but let me give this a shot). First of all, this is no 'Nymphetamine' or 'Thornography'. It has ideas that evolve throughout the album. The drums sound better than their third effort as well. Generally the instrumentation is well structured and without much blank spaces. The imagery is kind of gloomy and creepy and I believe that was the band's intention after all. Dani's voice is still great and his lyrics still bearable so no complaints about that either, even if they take a more 'dirty' and inappropriate-for-young-audiences turn. The production is not top notch especially the additional instruments sound like pure synth (which they probably are, but come on man, can't you just make a fool of us?). I'm mostly okay with how the other instruments sound apart from the fact that the guitars are a little compressed and the bass a bit low in the mix unlike the vocals which are placed in the front. In the non-musical part of the album, the artwork is mediocre to say the least. It is quite uninspired and predictable. I still believe that 'Dusk and Her Embrace' is the album with the best cover art (the best in general).

To summarize this, 'Midian' brings together various influences most notably King Diamond and some Iron Maiden. Needless to say that the album is nowhere close to these artists' value and contribution to the genre in general however it makes a good effort and it pays the minimum homage to them. What is that? Lyrical concepts, fast paced music and a rather theatrical performance. It is an album that Cradle can be proud of it. Not their best for sure but also far from their worst. Have a go and explore the world of 'Midian'. You might feel comfort or be appalled by its content but one thing is for sure; you will not be easily distracted as you listen to it. I've made my mind... this is a treat.

Favorite tracks: 'Saffron's Curse', 'Amor e Morte', 'Her Ghost in the Fog', 'Tearing the Veil from Grace'.